QMS-GPP Planning According to ISO:9000

Introduction

Quality management is the practice of ensuring consistency in products and services throughout your organization. A Quality Management System (QMS) helps your cannabis business provide customers with the best you can offer while mitigating risks using tools that support Health Canada’s Good Production Practices.

A Quality Management System-Good Production Practices Plan provides an overview of the quality management system that an organization has in place. Although there are many standards in the world, ISO:9000 is one of the most respected. And according to ISO:9000 standards, the plan must contain the following.

Quality Policy (ISO:9000 clause 5.2): A quality statement can be derived from a mission statement and/or vision statement, but should explain the organization’s commitment to quality

Quality Objectives (ISO:9000 clause 6.2): These can be the organization’s objectives from a business plan, again, as long as they contain a commitment to quality

Criteria for Evaluation and Selection of Suppliers: As quality management and good production practices are often dependent on supplies and equipment that come from other organizations, organizations need to have a criteria in place for evaluating their suppliers to ensure that they select suppliers that meet QMS and GPP standards

Scope of the QMS: This is a list of all SOPs with brief descriptions/purposes

Quality Product Statement

ISO:9000 requires your organization’s quality policy to be appropriate to your organization’s strategic direction and operational direction (context).

Your organization must understand and identify all the influences that affect its business and ensure that the strategy and direction takes quality into consideration. Your organization will need to review its current quality policy regularly to ensure that any changes in context, interested parties or other requirements are reflected, and to determine whether your organization’s objectives are affected. (ISO 9001:2015 – 6.2.1a.)

Following is an example.

Company ABC produces cannabis products for distribution in Canada according to the regulations in the Cannabis Act. The Company has developed its production system through experience and its aim is to achieve a high standard of production and products to its customers.

It is the policy of Company ABC to provide the customer with goods to the agreed requirement in accordance with the details and price.

The Directors, Management and Staff are responsible for Quality Control through the Quality Management System seeking improvement by constant review, with suppliers and sub-contractors being encouraged to co-operate. The Company is committed to achieving customer satisfaction by the use of quality procedures which will be operated to meet or exceed the requirements of [the Cannabis Act and/or ISO 9001 or other quality system].

Quality Objectives

The quality objectives should act as a driver for continual improvement. To meet quality standards, your organization will be required to ensure that you continually improve products and services to meet customer requirements and to measure effectiveness of the processes responsible.

Following is an example.

Company ABC strives to be the best provider of cannabis products in Canada. Through the use of this guiding principle, everyone in Company ABC is accountable for fully satisfying our customers and authorities by meeting or exceeding their needs and expectations with best-in-class production practices. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and compliance 100% of the time.

Our Quality Policy is defined and strongly driven by the following objectives:

1. Meet all compliance requirements for all levels of governments and regulatory agencies

2. Build a mutually profitable relationship with our customers, ensuring their long-term success, through the understanding of their needs and the needs of their customers as well

3. Achieve our commitments for quality, cost, and schedule

4. Use of best preventive practices at all levels and ensure reliable risk management

5. Drive continual improvement and innovation based upon efficient business processes, well-defined measurements, best practices, and customer surveys

6. Develop staff competencies, creativity, empowerment and accountability through appropriate development programs and show strong management involvement and commitment

Evaluation and Selection of Suppliers

Supplier evaluation is a system for recording and ranking the performance of a supplier in terms of a variety of criteria and is a must in ISO:9000. A process of vendor rating is essential to effective purchasing. While there is no one right system for supplier evaluation and selection process, the overall objective is to reduce risk and maximize overall value to the purchaser.

Criteria

There are eight common supplier selection criteria:
1. Cost
2. Quality & Safety
3. Delivery
4. Service
5. Social Responsibility
6. Convenience/Simplicity
7. Risk
8. Agility

In the cannabis industry, you should also add a commitment to meeting compliance and/or helping their customers meet compliance.

Methods

There are many other methods of evaluation, and the organization should determine which is the best for its use.

Categorical systems typically use excellent, good, average, poor and so on.

Weighted systems rate on a scale from 1 to 10 or out of 100.

Hierarchical systems give values in relation to each item’s importance. The most important item is given the highest value.

Conclusion

Of course, a quality management system and good production practices plan is only as good as the processes that support it. Creating standard operating procedures and ensuring that all personnel follow them will give you the best chance of success.

For more information about ISO:9000 visit: ISO – ISO 9000 family — Quality management

For information on how AirMed helps you meet compliance, visit our Compliance page.

If you’d like to learn about our quality management and GPP offerings or discuss your specific needs, please give us a call at 1-877-313-2442 or use one of the contact forms.


AirMed and FDA CFR 21

We are sometimes asked if AirMed meets FDA standards. First, please be aware that the FDA is a department of the US government. The specific portion of FDA regulations relevant to software such as AirMed is part CFR 21. As it is an American standard, Health Canada does not require CFR Part 21 compliance as part of the Cannabis Act Regulations. And while AirMed was designed for the Canadian cannabis industry and to comply with Health Canada regulations, AirMed does conform to CFR Part 21 with respect to electronic record keeping, audit trails, and electronic signatures. 

Many agencies throughout the world are responsible for issuing and enforcing regulations that affect businesses. The regulations affecting software such as AirMed are typically those related to records management compliance. And while there are many regulatory agencies involved in records management, for the most part the regulations themselves are similar from country to country and agency to agency. The purpose of them, in general, is to ensure the security, confidentiality and authentication of electronic records.

The U.S. FDA regulates food, drugs, medical devices, biologics, animal feed and drugs, cosmetics and radiation-emitting products such as cell phones for the U.S.A. The FDA’s rules for manufacturing and distribution are designed to protect consumers and promote public health. In the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 21 deals with Food & Drugs. Until recently, the regulations in this title required paper records with handwritten signatures.

Back in 1997, part 11 of 21 CFR was enacted to cover the use of electronic records and electronic signatures. Commonly known as 21 CFR 11, this part defines the criteria “under which the agency considers electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.”

Essentially, the concerns about using electronic records are that records may be lost in a system crash, the data may become corrupt or modifications may be made without proper authorization. In addition, since printed documents with hand-written signatures are recognized as legally binding on the signators, the agencies are looking for ways to make electronic records similarly binding on their owners. The regulations have been proposed to ensure that whenever an organization replaces printed documents with electronic data, there are checks and balances in place to ensure integrity of the electronic records so that they can be legally equivalent to printed records.

AirMed has a range of features that satisfy standards for security, authentication, validation and auditing as outlined in 21 CFR 11 and other regulations.

For more detailed information visit: Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) | FDA

For more information on how AirMed helps you meet compliance, visit our Compliance page or our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you’d like to discuss your specific needs, please give us a call at 1-877-313-2442 or use one of the contact forms to start the ball rolling.


FREE Seed-to-sale Software Buyer's Guide

Record keeping is an essential part of Health Canada’s compliance regulations. From the advent of legal medical marijuana in Canada, legal producers of cannabis have been required to track every seed, rooted plant, gram of waste material, final dried product, as well as interactions with customers and more. Due to the sheer volume of information, an electronic record-keeping system is the only practical way to manage the process. The software industry has responded to this need by creating seed-to-sale management software systems designed to help producers track their operations and report to Health Canada to meet compliance.

To help you through the process of purchasing seed-to-sale software in the Canadian Cannabis marketplace, we’ve produced a 20-page guide that answers the following questions:

  • What is a seed-to-sale software solution and why do I need one?
  • How do I choose one software platform over another?
  • What should I be looking for in the software?
  • How does the software fit into my business?
  • How is my data stored and secured?
  • What happens if regulations change?

To download this guide courtesy of AirMed, please visit the following page and complete the form. Once you submit the form, you’ll be able to download the guide.

AirMed Seed-to-Sale Software Buyer’s Guide


AirMed Plugin for Your WordPress Website

The AirMed WordPress plugin can pull information from your AirMed account to showcase your brands and products in an online catalog. Content stored in your AirMed database is published directly to your WordPress web pages.

Use the pre-designed theme options in your AirMed plugin settings to determine how your catalog will appear on your website.

View your choices in a visual interface installed on your WordPress dashboard. Save the settings to see the finished result on your web page.

Although the catalog appears on your website, all product details are stored in AirMed. Payments are processed by the merchant solution provider with no card data passing through AirMed. Patient information is encrypted by Canada’s most secure hosting facility. With support for monitored intrusion prevention and monitored firewall, your records have the highest level of protection.

As an AirMed customer, you install a simple plugin onto your WordPress website. The plugin installs a visual interface in your WordPress dashboard.

Then add a snippet of shortcode to the page where you want your catalog to appear. The shortcode pulls directly from your AirMed database, which contains all your products complete with images, descriptions and pricing.

Customers interacting with the product catalog remain on your website throughout the shopping experience rather than being transferred to a portal site.

The WordPress plugin interfaces with our application programming interface (API) to embed information from the AirMed database directly onto your website.

Change the style, format, and position of catalog elements using the plugin settings and see how the elements will appear on your website before committing. When you find the combination you like, save your settings and refresh the web page.

For more information on these new features or to book a demo of AirMed to see them for yourself, click the Request Demo button at the top of the page or use any of the contact forms.

In the meantime visit our Intro to AirMed 5 page.


GS1 Trend Report 2023/2024

Selling any product, including cannabis, starts with a unique identification number from GS1. The GS1 (Global Standards 1) organization is a neutral, global collaboration platform that brings industry leaders, government, regulators, academia, and associations together to develop standards-based solutions to address the challenges of data exchange.

GS1—which has local Member Organisations in 116 countries, over two million user companies and 10 billion transactions every day—helps ensure that there is a common language of business across the globe. GS1 manages the Global Trade Item Number or GTIN, which identifies companies and their products and services using barcode data.

“Trend Research 2023-2024” is a report published recently by GS1 that discusses the top business trends in the world. Topics include data privacy, supply chain digitalisation, traceability and new technologies.

“A cornerstone of any digital transformation are the concepts that are core to the GS1 system: globally unique identification, a common data language, a commitment to interoperability and a firm belief that business value achieved through data sharing is amplified through the use of standards.”


Alberta Loosens Cannabis Regulations

Alberta is changing provincial cannabis regulations to “give retailers more time to focus on their business, while ensuring health, safety, and security remain a top priority.”

The Alberta government made the announcement in December 2023 in a media release titled, “Reducing red tape for cannabis retailers.”

On January 31, 2024, the following improvements to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Regulation will come into force:

  • Licensed cannabis retailers can operate temporary sales locations at adults-only events like trade shows and festivals.
  • Cannabis retailers can keep their products in locked display cases when the store is closed rather than moving everything into a secured storage room at the close of every business day.
  • Restrictions are removed on sales and transfers between cannabis retailers and to further allow Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis to establish resale markup limits.

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, was quoted as saying, “We’ve been looking at the cannabis market to determine what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what’s redundant or unnecessary while protecting public health and safety. These changes are the result of our latest work to help curb the illegal cannabis industry and continue providing choices Albertans can trust.”

Stratcann, one of Canada’s cannabis news platforms, reported, “…a media representative for the AGLC tells StratCann that the ‘policies and processes to support cannabis licensees who are interested in operating temporary sales locations are in development and will be shared with cannabis stakeholders prior to the implementation date.’”

The CBC reported, “In Edmonton and Calgary, city bylaws already allow smoking or vaping cannabis at outdoor festivals and public events, but only in designated areas. And in those cases, selling cannabis on site isn’t allowed… The changes will allow licensed cannabis retailers to set up temporary sales at adults-only events, like trade shows and festivals. They also ease some of the restrictions around how store owners can transfer product between different locations and lift the requirement to store product in a secure area off the shop floor while the store is closed.”

Cannabis in Alberta is regulated by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) ministry.


Happy New Year!

Can you believe that 2024 is the 10th year AirMed has been in business? It’s true. We started in 2014!

A lot has happened in our industry during those 10 years, some good and some not-so-good. But we want you to know that we pledge our commitment to continued hard work and innovation, and we see great things on the horizon.

As we look ahead to the coming year, we send best wishes for a future filled with success and abundance to all our industry. Expect 2024 to be a year of new vistas and exciting possibilities for cannabis in Canada. Here’s to moving forward with positivity and purpose.

From everyone at AirMed, Happy New Year!


Season's Greetings

The staff at AirMed would like to wish all our industry the best this holiday season.

And we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported us this past year. We value the connections we’ve made with clients, future clients and partners as well as with other industry members.

Looking forward to working with you in the future, may this season bring you peace and joy.


AirMed Named Most Innovative Cannabis Management Software Company

Innovation in Business magazine has named AirMed “Most Innovative Cannabis Management Software Company” in the Technology Innovator Awards for 2023.

This awards program celebrates the outstanding achievements of businesses in the dynamic world of technology. “Innovation in Business recognizes the paramount importance of acknowledging the remarkable contributions made by businesses in the ever-evolving technology sector.”

“We’re proud to receive this Technology Innovator Award,” said Justin Hearn, president and CEO of AirMed Canada Systems. “Innovation is one of the driving forces behind AirMed. Recognition like this is an acknowledgement of the hard work we put into anticipating and meeting our industry’s needs.”

On behalf of all the staff at AirMed, we’d like to thank Innovation in Business for honouring us with this award. We’d also like to thank our customers who motivate us to give them the best we can.

To read about our award at Innovation in Business visit:
https://www.innovationinbusiness.com/winners/airmed-canada-systems-inc/

To read the media announcement about the Technology Innovators winners for 2023, visit: https://www.innovationinbusiness.com/innovation-in-business-announces-the-winners-of-the-technology-innovator-awards-2023/

To see what we’re doing that helped us win this award, visit our AirMed 5 page.

For more information about all our awards, visit our About page.


Important Cannabis Council of Canada Excise Tax Request

Cannabis Council of Canada surveyed licensed producers and has released their findings in a report that you can access here: https://cannabis-council.ca/files/advocacy/C3-Excise-survey.pdf

But that’s not the end of this story. In fact, it’s just the beginning. CCC announced that after bringing their excise tax survey results to Ottawa during the Grass on the Hill Summit last month, the Department of Finance wants to learn more.

“The Department of Finance would like to get a deeper understanding of how excise tax impacts License Holders’ financial positions, and how different rate models can help the long-term viability of our sector.”

This is where you come in.

CCC is asking Health Canada License Holders who pay excise tax to provide the Canadian government with a confidential look at their financials for 2022. Note that deadline to respond: November 30, 2023.

For details and to access the CCC excise model spreadsheet use the contact information below before the November 30 deadline!

Email CCC directly at hello @ cannabis-council.ca

If the email link doesn’t work, visit the Cannabis Council of Canada website for contact information: https://cannabis-council.ca/


MJBizDaily Publishes Series on Government Funding for Canadian Producers

In the first article of a series, MJBiz Daily reported “More Canadian cannabis companies are tapping government funding sources to finance research and other projects as private-sector capital has become harder to come by.”

That article, written by MJBiz Daily International Editor Matt Lamers, was published September 28, 2023 with the title “Canadian cannabis companies tap government funding programs.”

Lamers wrote, “MJBizDaily found that more than 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.2 million) worth of federal funding was provided to almost two dozen companies over the past year, according to the government’s Grants and Contributions portal.”

The second article, published October 3, 2023, reported that “Cannabis-related agricultural businesses based in Alberta are eligible for provincial funding under two programs if they meet certain requirements, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation told MJBizDaily.”

The latest installment, published November 16, 2023, reported that the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food explained via email that “federally licensed and commercial cannabis production is eligible for many of its programs and services.”

The author wrote, “Federally licensed cannabis producers in British Columbia are eligible to apply for a host of government programs, some of which provide funding, including the provincial portion of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.”


Intro to AirMed5 Booklet

We’re so excited about the release of AirMed5 that we’ve created a booklet describing the new software in detail. This document covers all the features in the initial release.

  • Re-imagined interface and user experience
  • Fully customizable tables with custom columns
  • Built-in report, label and e-form designers
  • Business intelligence designer
  • SOP library with built-in SOP editor
  • Automated QMS incident management
  • Task-based workflows with support for task templates and automated task scheduling
  • Product plans
  • Simplified packaging and shipping

To receive a PDF of this booklet by email, please send a request to sales @ airmed.ca or fill out one of our request demo contact forms.

In the meantime, visit our AirMed 5 web page.


Industry Leaders Attend Global CanExec Summit

The annual Global Cannabis Executive Summit was held last week at The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

Justin Hearn, President and CEO of AirMed Canada Systems, was invited to the summit to provide a software vendor perspective.

“This summit featured panels of C-suite executives from many leading Canadian cannabis companies,” Hearn said. “The organizers curated frank and productive discussions about the state of the industry and many of the current challenges. Hats off to an excellent event.”

This invitation-only event was attended by decision-makers from leading producers with 90+ percent of the speakers holding C-suite roles.

The 4th Annual Global Cannabis Executive Summit will be held October 27-28, 2024 in Toronto.

For more information about the past or upcoming event, visit https://canexecsummit.com/


In the News Five Years After Cannabis Legalization in Canada

This month marked the fifth anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada, and news outlets offered various views on the results so far. While some of the articles discussed the challenges and struggles facing the industry, others looked at different aspects.

CTV News reports that “Five years after cannabis legalization, 64 per cent of Canadians are in support of the move.” The article published on the CTV News website was about the results of an online survey conducted by Research Co. “Support for the legalization of marijuana is highest among Canadians aged 55 and over (66 per cent),” Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. said in a press release. “The proportions are lower among those aged 35-to-54 (56 per cent) and those aged 18-to-34 (48 per cent).”

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/five-years-after-cannabis-legalization-64-per-cent-of-canadians-are-in-support-of-the-move-survey-1.6621182

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published “Outcomes associated with nonmedical cannabis legalization policy in Canada: taking stock at the 5-year mark.” This scholarly article reported, “Cannabis legalization in Canada appears not to have been the public health disaster anticipated by some of its opponents, but it cannot be described as a comprehensive or unequivocal success for public health either.”

https://www.cmaj.ca/content/195/39/E1351#ref-11

The Royal Gazette published “Canada and cannabis at Year 5,” which focused on three major aspects: the cannabis market, public health and social justice. “Canadian experience demonstrates there have been problems that must be responded to. But the ending of criminalisation that especially burdened Indigenous and Black people, the creation of a legal market providing untainted cannabis — the strength of which is clear — and the confronting of the illicit one that makes vast sums of money, pays no taxes and has no regard for the quality of what it sells must weigh heavily in the balance.”

https://www.royalgazette.com/opinion-writer/opinion/article/20231028/canada-and-cannabis-at-year-5/


What We Heard Report

The federal government released a report that summarizes what a “five-person expert panel has heard over the past year as it engaged with almost 500 stakeholders in nearly 90 meetings across Canada.”

The report, titled “What We Heard,” describes the scope of the engagement and summarizes the responses in several categories including: public health, impact on young persons, impact on First Nations and more.

Read about the expert panel and review here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/laws-regulations/cannabis-act-legislative-review/expert-panel/legislative-review-cannabis-act-report.html

Read the report here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/laws-regulations/cannabis-act-legislative-review/expert-panel/legislative-review-cannabis-act-report.html

Stratcann summarized the report in an article published on their website on October 10, 2023, the same day the report was released.

Read the Stratcann article here: https://stratcann.com/other/canada-releases-what-we-heard-report-on-the-cannabis-act-review/

Global News followed up the release of the report with an in-depth article on the state of the cannabis industry in Canada. In the feature published on October 16, 2023, Global News offers commentary by several experts including George Smitherman, president and chief executive of the Cannabis Council of Canada.

Read the Global News article here: https://globalnews.ca/news/10027112/cannabis-act-review-canada/


AirMed CEO Invited to Global CanExec Summit

Held annually, the Global Cannabis Executive Summit is a B2B conference designed for executives with leadership roles in the cannabis industry. This invitation-only event is attended by decision-makers from leading producers with 90+ percent of the speakers holding C-suite roles.

Justin Hearn, President and CEO of AirMed Canada Systems, has been invited to participate in the summit, being held this year on October 30 and 31 in Toronto.
While most attendees at this event represent producers, the organizers invited Hearn to provide a software vendor perspective.

“We have clients ranging from large producers to micros plus processors and dispensaries,” said Hearn. “As a result, we work with a cross-section of the industry and are aware of the challenges being faced. In addition to staying ahead of the regulations to ensure our users have the tools to meet compliance, we also try to anticipate what our clients will need in the future to remain competitive. This gives us a broader view of the industry and a distinct perspective that we can share with the CanExec audience.”

This is an in-person event being held October 30-31, 2023 at The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

For more information about the event, visit https://canexecsummit.com/


Grow Up Conference in Victoria a Success

Grow Up Conference and Expo returned to Victoria BC last week with over 120 high-level industry speakers, 90+ exhibitors and thousands of delegates together on Vancouver Island.

Grow Up Conference is a true B2B cannabis event that focused on cultivation, extraction and psychedelics for industry professionals.

Read the Times Colonist coverage of the event here:
https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/victoria-cannabis-conference-first-in-bc-to-allow-sampling-after-change-to-regulations-7631570

This in-person event was held October 1-3, 2023 at the Victoria Convention Centre in downtown Victoria, BC, Canada.
For more information visit: https://growupconference.com/


Grass on the Hill 2023: Oct 16-18 in Ottawa

Join the Cannabis Council of Canada in Ottawa for the annual Grass on the Hill Summit & Lobby Day. Bringing together leaders from across the cannabis sector, this is a fantastic opportunity to grow your network and make your voice heard in Ottawa. Meet with decision-makers, connect with other leaders in the cannabis sector and celebrate 5 years since cannabis legalization.

For more information on the Cannabis Leaders Summit & Industry Lobby Day visit:

https://cannabis-council.ca/grassonthehill


Don't Miss Grow Up Victoria this Sunday!

Grow Up Conference is a true B2B cannabis event that is designed for industry professionals rather than the consumer market.

Join your peers in the Canadian cannabis industry in majestic Victoria British Columbia for three days of cannabis cultivation, psychedelics and extraction.

Grow Up Conference and Expo features over 120 high-level industry speakers, 90+ exhibitors and thousands of delegates together on Vancouver Island.

This in-person event is scheduled for October 1-3, 2023 at the Victoria Convention Centre in downtown Victoria, BC, Canada.
For more information visit: https://growupconference.com/


Canadian Greenhouse Conference 2023: Oct 4-5 in Niagara Falls

Your Canadian resource for the business of growing
As Canada’s foremost event for commercial greenhouse flower, vegetable, cannabis, berry and nursery growers, the Canadian Greenhouse Conference is the ultimate connection point for growers, suppliers and research partners.

The Canadian Greenhouse Conference is a not-for-profit corporation and Canada’s foremost event and connection point for commercial growers of crops produced in a controlled environment. The conference attracts growers from across North America, gathers experts from around the world and showcases innovative production techniques, research, products and technology.

Being held October 3-4, 2023 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in exciting Niagara Falls, Canada, the Canadian Greenhouse Conference offers two days of informative, motivating sessions and a large trade show with over 300 booths.For more information visit: https://www.canadiangreenhouseconference.com/