How To Use Templates

    Understanding Regulations

    Start by reviewing the regulations that apply to your business. This will help you get familiarized with how regulations are written. They can be very confusing. When you’ve gotten that feeling of being overwhelmed, you’ll know you’re on the right track. That’s where the templates come in handy.

    How to find cannabis regulations for California State

    Cannabis-infused product manufacturers can view regulations at the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch website*

    *Templates and regulation details for cannabis retailers, distributors, testing labs, and cultivators will be coming soon!

    Understanding Templates

    Every template has been cross referenced with the relevant section(s) of code for California Manufacturing Licenses. A template can consist of 1 or more of the following:

    • “Procedure” template
    • “Training” template
    • “Log” template
    • “Form” template

    The purpose of these templates is to give you a jump start in developing or improving the standard operating procedures that will be used to maintain compliance but also create consistent, high quality products. Templates are meant to be customized to your needs, but remember - anything you write you will be held accountable to during an audit or investigation. This means you have to keep your employees and colleagues accountable.

    Anatomy of a template

    Every template is made up of 2 sections; a header and a content area.  

    The Header Area

    The header is at the top of every template and looks like this:

    It is broken up into 8 parts:

    1. Company name - Enter your company’s name.
    2. SOP number - ????
    3. Author and date - Enter the name of the person customizing the template, and the date the template was completed.
    4. Section Number and template title - Do not touch the section number. This refers to the California regulation that was referenced to create this template. Below the section Number, is the template name.
    5. Approval Signature and date - The person designated to approve the template should sign and date.
    6. Date issued, revised, and revision number - Enter the date the template was originally approved (issue date), the last date the template was revised and approved (revision date), and the current version number (revision number).
    7. QA approval - The person designated to review the template should sign and date.

    The Content Area

    All information found beneath the header area is part of the content area. Information found in the content area may include:

    • table of contents
    • table and logs
    • instructions
    • descriptions like purpose, scope, responsibilities, step by step procedures and more.

    What you find in the content are will vary based on the type of template you are looking at. But remember, the content area is where you really need to focus on customizing in order to meet compliance requirements and tailor the templates to your cannabis business needs.

    Customize Policy Templates

    Every template will include a policy template. This is the cornerstone of every template bundle. Don’t just scan it, read it. Do your best to understand.  As you read, keep these questions in mind:

    • Are there parts of this policy template that don’t relate to your business?
    • Are there processes in your operation that relevant but missing from this template?

    As you read, make notes of what should be added, or taken away from the template. Remember, this template answers the question “What is my manufacturing operation doing?”.  Think about this question as you read through your notes and combine your unique processes into a customized policy document. 

    Customize Procedure Templates

    If your template bundle includes a procedure template, read this section.

    When the policy template looks good to you, open the related procedure template. A procedure template outlines the processes that need to be performed in order to comply with the requirements of the policy template.

    You might notice that this template is cross referenced to some or all of the same sections of code as the policy template. That’s because they support one another. The policy tells you what needs to be included in the procedure template.

    Read through the procedure template and think about:

    • how are you currently do these activities?
    • Is your cannabis business new? Think about how you might do this activity in the future?

    Next, use the template format as a guide and write down how you do what you do. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. JUST WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU DO OR THINK YOU MIGHT DO!

    Verify Policy and Procedure Templates

    When you’ve finished customizing the procedure template - go back to the policy template and compare what it says to what you wrote in the procedure template.

    You want to make sure that you’ve included everything that you need to in your procedure template. If you haven’t,  you can do one of two things.

    • remove the things you’re not doing from the Policy document
    • add more detail to your procedure document.

    If you remove requirements from the Policy document, you will likely not be compliant with the state regulations and risk losing your license. If you add things to your Procedure document, you actually have to do them. The important thing here is keeping it simple. A great colloquial acronym to remember this by is KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Really, keep it simple.

    Your procedures are there to accomplish the goal outlined in the Policy document. Not confuse your colleagues and employees or test your ability to craft complex scientific language. Write what you need people to do in concise clear language.

    Customize Associated Templates

    If your template bundle includes a log, training, schedule, or job description, read this section.

    Once you checked and verified the policy and procedure templates against each other - it’s time to move on to other associated template. An associated template outlines the minimum required information needed to collect documented proof that action has been taken on a procedure. In regulatory language, words like a record and document mean you absolutely must write something down.

    Associated templates can be schedules, job descriptions, trainings, logs and other documents.

    Before you start reviewing, editing, and customizing an associated template, look at the related procedure template again to make sure you’ve identified all of the required data that needs to be collected. Then open the associated template and modify it to reflect the data that needs to be captured.

    Verify Associated Templates

    If your template bundle includes a log, training, schedule, or job description, read this section.

    Done customizing an associated document? Your final step will be to compare the associated document with the relates policy and procedure documents.

    If everything matches. Congratulations, you are done customizing your purchased template!


    Looking for our frequently asked questions? Check them out here