A Basic Overview Good Production Practices in the Cannabis Industry
Cannabis production is a methodical science, with the industry subject to strict regulations and quality assurance principles. Those interested in starting a cannabis business in Canada must first obtain a federal cannabis license. As part of the application criteria, license holders must demonstrate their understanding of Good Production Practices (GPP) and provide evidence that their facility complies with those practices.
GPP requirements apply to cannabis that is produced, packaged, distributed, and sold in Canada. License holders must prove that their activities meet the quality standards and that they have developed a system with written guidelines, sanitation procedures, proper equipment, and trained employees. Their facilities must also be set up in such a way as to ensure the safety and quality of the cannabis due to the strict analytical testing requirements by Health Canada.
Read on for a guide on upholding GPP standards for cannabis quality assurance.
Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a set of written instructions that detail the routine operations of a facility. They ensure that work is carried out efficiently, to a consistent standard, and in compliance with industry regulations. For those working in cannabis careers, SOPs are designed to ensure that cannabis is produced in accordance with Good Production Practices, with a view to upholding the quality of the finished product. SOPs should include key features of the cannabis facility and its conduct, including:
- Sanitation requirements for the area
- PPE and employee hygiene
- Production techniques and procedures (e.g. cloning and propagating)
- Sampling, documentation, and reporting
- Storage of the product
Formal training on SOPs teaches students how to meet the quality assurance requirements set by Health Canada for the production of cannabis, including SOP development and the importance of good record-keeping practices.
Professionals in cannabis careers must design and uphold Standard Operating Procedures
Before beginning production, you should consider the spatial arrangement of the facility. Depending on the license or specialized activities of a facility, you may require different setups to meet the cannabis quality assurance requirements. For example, those who are looking to both cultivate and process cannabis may require spaces for:
- Cloning and propagation
- Vegetation and flowering
- Extraction and packaging
- Manufacturing and labelling
- Product and Equipment Storage
- Cleaning and Sanitation
- Office and Administrative
Facilities should have adequate spaces for different cannabis production stages
After setting up a facility, professionals should pay close attention to all the surfaces in the building to ensure that they comply with Good Production Practices. In particular, floors, ceilings, and walls should be:
- Chemically resistant to degradation from disinfectants
- Sealed without cracks
It is recommended to cover any exposed pipes or air ducts behind a wall surface to prevent contamination of the cannabis. By creating a continuous, sealed surface in production areas, you can allow for more effective cleaning of the space and ensure sanitation procedures are maintained.
A crucial part of upholding Good Production Practices is implementing a sanitation program. The facility and all employees should abide by routine sanitation practices. The construction of the facility should allow for thorough cleaning of all exposed surfaces, with sinks and wash stations for equipment, and sanitizing stations for employees.
Employees should follow proper sanitation practices
Eliminating pests is another effective method of control. The facility should be designed to minimize the chance of pests getting into production areas. Glue boards and fly flights can be placed around the perimeter to deter pests and prevent the contamination of the cannabis.
When working in a cannabis facility, you are reqired to uphold essential sanitation best-practices with a focus on:
- Work surfaces and premises
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Clean room protocols
- Sanitation logs and procedures
By following Good Production Practices, professionals can ensure the quality, efficiency, and legality of their cannabis facility.