Compliance is important, especially when incentives are involved. “Incentives” are things that motivate or encourage us to do something. We are constantly surrounded by opportunities and incentives, whether it be to enhance our personal lives or business health. Creating a vigorous and sustainable business will always include compliance nuances, especially within the cannabis and psychedelic industries.
In a world where industries are constantly evolving, one thing remains constant: regulations. Whether you work in finance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, or any other highly regulated sector, compliance is a crucial aspect of your daily operations. While navigating these complex regulations might seem like a daunting task, it's important to recognize that being compliant brings a multitude of positive outcomes that benefit both businesses and consumers.
In heavily regulated industries, staying within compliance is key to keeping the doors open…wide open! Business incentives to remain in compliance boil down to finance and reputation. Staying compliant is not only important from a regulatory side, but it will save your business money and create a positive business reputation your customers can stand by. Below is a deeper dive into business incentives to staying within compliance.
Those nation-wide food recalls typically have customer backlash, especially when customers got sick from eating their products. This results in many customers walking away from purchasing those products because the trust in product safety and quality was lost. Not all non-compliance issues are necessarily visible to customers—some government entities post their inspection findings online, but consumers must specifically search for the business name and location, which can be difficult to find. However, other violations are showcased in the news and can be very apparent to consumers—product recalls, severe workplace injuries, and environmental contaminations or spills are examples of newsworthy topics. Cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics are particularly newsworthy, so we need to be careful not to ruin the industry’s reputation as well.
Compliance reflects a company's commitment to ethics and responsibility. It sends a strong message to consumers, investors, and partners that your organization takes its responsibilities seriously. This commitment builds trust, which is invaluable in any industry. A positive reputation for compliance can attract more customers, investors, and partners—further solidifying your position in the market.
Compliance can provide a competitive advantage in the market. Companies that consistently adhere to regulations can use their compliance status as a selling point. It can be a valuable differentiator, especially in industries where consumers prioritize safety, security, and ethical behavior.
Costly Penalties and Fines
Regulatory agencies can impose hefty fines for violations! These penalties can add up quickly, potentially crippling a company financially. State departments and federal agencies can impose fines and shut down businesses for excessive violations. Expect immense fines from both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, for worker safety and health) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, for air, water, and waste compliance). Based on the severity of the violation, fines could have a predetermined amount or be charged per day until the violation is fixed. Egregious violations can also result in prison time. Check out this website for OSHA violations that led to prison time (1). Dan Charles wrote a great article detailing a peanut butter company executive knowingly shipping salmonella contaminated product that injured about 700 and resulted in nine deaths—that executive received 28 years in prison (2).
Compliance is all about managing risks effectively. By adhering to regulations, companies can reduce the risk of legal penalties, fines, and reputation damage. In highly regulated industries, non-compliance can result in severe consequences. Being compliant not only helps mitigate these risks but also allows organizations to focus on their core operations with peace of mind.
Improved Security and Data Protection
In sectors such as finance and healthcare, data security, and confidentiality are paramount. Compliance regulations often mandate stringent data protection measures. Implementing these measures not only helps organizations meet legal requirements but also safeguards sensitive customer information. This not only reduces the risk of data breaches, but also enhances customer trust.
Reducing Legal Expenses
Businesses may face legal actions or lawsuits from regulatory bodies or affected parties. In addition to any fines imposed for violations, paying for attorney’s fees, compensatory and punitive damages, court costs, and settlements can pile high! Not to mention the business’s reputation will be directly impacted by a messy legal battle.
Innovation and Efficiency
Compliance can drive innovation by encouraging organizations to adopt best practices and implement advanced technologies. Regulations often push companies to find more efficient ways to meet requirements. This can result in improved processes, reduced operational costs, and increased competitiveness.
Market Expansion Opportunities
Compliance with international standards can open up opportunities for businesses to expand into new markets. Many countries require foreign companies to meet specific regulations to operate within their borders. Being compliant can ease market entry, making it easier for businesses to access new customers and revenue streams.
Avoiding Business Interruptions
Violations can not only lead to fines and other financial losses, but also could lead to shutting down operations. Non-compliance can lead to regulatory-ordered shutdowns or orders to cease and desist of operational activities. A “shut down” from a regulatory body is not a good look for any company. This may result in lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, and harm to the business’ reputation. Staying within compliance helps prevent such damaging disruptions.
When businesses demonstrate dedication to compliance, lower premiums may be offered by insurance providers. When a business complies with safety, security, and other regulations, it is considered a lower risk, which can result in cost savings on insurance coverage. Obtaining certain certifications may also help decrease insurance coverage for companies. Certifications like defensive driving, CPR, various International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality certifications, good manufacturing practices (GMP), and other quality and safety related accreditations.
The ultimate business goal is to stay in business while staying profitable. Businesses who prioritize compliance can avoid legal and financial crisis and keep their doors open much longer than those who do not take regulatory compliance seriously. By avoiding and preparing for legal and financial crises, businesses are better positioned to survive economic downturns and capitalize on growth opportunities. Highly regulated industries often evolve over time, and companies that are adaptable and compliant can thrive in changing environments. By staying ahead of regulatory changes, organizations can position themselves for long-term success and sustainability.
Compliance isn't just about meeting legal requirements; it's also about fulfilling the expectations of stakeholders. Employees, shareholders, and customers want to be associated with organizations that act responsibly. Demonstrating commitment to compliance can boost employee morale, attract investors, and retain loyal customers.
Compliance expectations must trickle down from the highest positions within any company. Company leaders must “walk the walk” and show their employees that compliance is a must and not an option. With compliance held as a company value, employees see that the checks and balances provide structure, accountability, pride, and satisfaction in knowing their duties are done correctly and documented. Increased employee satisfaction directly relates to longer employment retention and attracts higher qualified staff. All a win-win!
In highly regulated industries such as cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics, compliance is not just a box to check; it's a pathway to success. While the challenges of navigating complex regulations may seem overwhelming, the positive outcomes are worth the effort. Enhanced reputation, reduced risk, improved security, and a competitive edge are just some of the rewards of being compliant. Embracing compliance is not just about meeting regulatory requirements; it's about building a foundation for growth, sustainability, and trust in a rapidly changing business landscape. Non-compliance often leads to fines, penalties, and legal fees. By staying compliant, a business can avoid these costs. Staying compliant with relevant laws and regulations is a practical financial strategy for all businesses. There are many benefits to staying in compliance, especially in the cannabis and psilocybin industry, but all have a constant trend…financially based incentives.
About the Author
Kim Stuck is the CEO and founder of Allay Consulting. Direct correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org.