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Compliance or Cost?

Something I am seeing on a weekly basis is people jumping into the industry with a multitude of products that are unproven and untested. I know everyone is anxious to cash in on the new green-gold industry but it’s important to take the necessary steps in being compliant with each states rules and regulations not only as suppliers but also as the consumer.
I fall into both those categories as the owner of a nutrient company as well as part owner of recreational cannabis producer processor in WA.
On the p/p side, we can not use any products in our grow that are not registered/approved by the state. I have seen several other grows up here have crops seized due to using unregistered products. Even if it’s unintentional, it’s not worth the risk of losing a harvest in my opinion.
On the manufacturing side, I am constantly asked by customers if they can get a lower price and I understand why on their part, but what I don’t think they understand is the cost of compliance for us. For every state that we sell nutrients in, we have to first be licensed which usually has an annual fee associated with it. Then we have to register each of our labels. To qualify for registration, we have to provide lab testing showing that our products meet that states standards for safety as well as our guaranteed analysis. Each product has to be tested through an independent lab which is quite expensive. Once we receive registration, it requires an annual renewal fee and then we also pay a tonnage fee in each state as well as mill charges in certain states on a quarterly basis.

In just this past week I have seen 3 companies advertising unregistered products all over social media and every one of them points out they can beat prices of other companies. What they don’t point out is that they have not licensed or registered their products(you can look up all registered companies on your states department of ag website) or even had them tested. They also fail to mention that if they get caught they will be shut down immediately and leave their customers scrambling to replace the products they can no longer provide.

Having been a commercial grower for over 30 years, I of all people understand the need to cut costs when growing on a large scale but I also understand that it pays to do your homework before you buy any new products that could have such a huge impact on your business. I urge everyone that is trying to make a living as a grower to please check with your state licensing body on what can and can not be used in the production of your crop. Compliance checks are coming sooner rather than later and it’s a lot less expensive to be compliant now rather than face the consequences later.


Great post. Thank you!


Well said,


From today’s Cannabis Business Times: Early Lab Tests show 18% Failure Rate in California’s Cannabis Market

Residing here in California, the name “Ron Goldman” conjurs up some memories!


Yeah… I am from there originally and you wouldn’t believe all the things I have heard over the years because of my name!


I can only imagine! Well, nice to mert you here and thanks for the post!


Great post @ron - compliance is such a huge deal, and I applaud your approach and diligence.

I work at GrowFlow (compliant, seed-to-sale software, founded and started in WA!) and I am curious how we might be able to raise awareness about this with our customers, and the whole industry - helping keep our customers compliant is obviously our top priority!

DM me if you would be willing to discuss more on this topic - and again, thanks for the great post!


Great post and something really important for growers to consider as their grows scale!

@sean IMO, one way would be to integrate a database into the grow tracking software that only includes labeled/registered products as possible loggable inputs. This database could be updated regularly as new products get approved and could also serve to improve IPM practices by including IRAC codes and PHIs so that the growers could more effectively plan their IPM protocols with approved products.

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