A Basic Guide to Good Production Practices for Cannabis Quality Assurance

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. 

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 of the space
  • Employee hygiene
  • Production techniques (e.g. cloning and propagating)
  • Sampling and testing of the product
  • Storage of the product

Cannabis training 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

Creating a Space for Cannabis Quality Assurance

Before beginning production practices, 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 cannabis quality assurance requirements. Those who are looking to both cultivate and process cannabis will need spaces for:

  • Cloning and mothering 
  • Vegetation and flowering
  • Extraction and packaging
  • Manufacturing and labelling

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:

  • Non-porous 
  • Chemically resistant to degradation from disinfectants
  • Non-absorbent 
  • Sealed without cracks
  • Durable 
  • Cleanable 

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. 

Sanitation Procedures

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. 

Students in cannabis courses will learn how to uphold essential sanitation practices in a cannabis facility, with a focus on:

  • Work surfaces and premises
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Clean room protocols
  • Sanitation logs and procedures

By upholding Good Production Practices, professionals can ensure the quality, efficiency, and legality of their cannabis facility. 

Are you ready to start your cannabis quality assurance training?

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