Calling cannabis compliance “complex” would be a major understatement.
Navigating the ever-changing regulatory landscape while adhering to strict and often subjective rules can be extremely difficult and frustrating, especially when an operator’s license is on the line.
Many cannabis companies have been subjected to serious fines or license revocations due to violations.
Mistakes can vary from lacking proper security to disregarding customer privacy at the retail level.
Improper labeling, selling over the legal limit, or failing to keep accurate records are also common, yet preventable errors that could spell certain doom for a cannabis business.
Rootwurks is a new learning experience platform that raises the bar for cannabis education while ensuring operators remain compliant as the industry changes.
The Rise of Rootwurks
Developed with Vicente Sederberg — industry leaders in law and policy — the comprehensive Rootwurks platform goes above and beyond to help businesses thrive through its holistic approach and innovative training methodology.
A deep passion for the plant and an honest desire to see the market succeed inspires the Rootwurks team to keep striving for excellence and collaboration.
Chase Eastman, founder and CEO, saw his mother find relief with cannabis while she battled cancer. It was an experience he would never forget but would not revisit professionally for two decades.
“Cannabis was not anything that I experimented with when I was young, but I saw it in that instance, and it changed my perception of cannabis as a psychedelic drug to cannabis as a medicine,” he recalled.
“Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by the plant, and have been watching the industry from afar.”
Eastman initially followed in his father’s footsteps, joining his dad’s food safety compliance and training company Alchemy Systems early in his career.
A few years ago, Eastman re-connected with childhood friend Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg. After careful consideration, the pair decided to join forces, launching Rootwurks in July 2021.
“We took 20 years of lessons from the food industry and applied it to what we built, tailoring the solution from the ground up to support the unique intricacies in the cannabis market,” Eastman said.
The initial content offered by Rootwurks was curated partially by the compliance team at Vicente Sederberg, leaning into its impressive array of expertise.
To provide the most value to its clients, the company worked meticulously to conduct additional research on what it really needed to know.
“Anytime an operator had been dinged on an audit by a regulatory body, we pulled all that information and the corresponding fines, and then use that to prioritize the topics we cover,” Eastman explained.
“We spent nine months doing industry data scraping and public records requests to build a consolidated database of all the non-conformities that have been issued in the industry.”
Lessons run the gamut of manufacturing and retail compliance, including workplace safety, sanitation, and the proper way to verify customer IDs.
High-level, overarching courses, as well as deep dives into subtopics are offered, covering every detail an employee across the vertical would need to know.
Compliance Through Your People
The Rootwurks platform provides initial compliance training along with reinforcement through three different modules.
Operators can deploy an awareness module, which provides all the pertinent information required by state law. A “micro” module provides bite-sized sessions laser-focused on specific components of the awareness modules.
Long-form certification modules are designed for supervisors or those on a cannabis career path that may call for more advanced knowledge.
Eastman and the team developed the multi-pronged approach to combat the so-called forgetting curve, a theory arguing the vast majority of adults will lose nearly 8% of the information they learned within 30 days of training.
Supervisors can deploy corrective action modules, ensuring staff mistakes are corrected and well-documented should the issue arise again.
“Our philosophy is that your path to compliance is your people, way more so than your SOPs being appropriately documented,” Eastman said. “At the end of the day, if your employees are not doing the job correctly, then you’re not compliant.”
Rootwurks Strives to Remain at the Top of the Class
Despite being a fairly young company, Rootwurks has an impressive array of solutions in its toolkit, with more on the way. The team is currently building an additional audit module for custom scheduling, as well as automated onboarding plans and custom career paths for customers wanting more specialized coursework for their staff.
Rootwurks hopes to become a role model for others in the industry while helping remove the stigma surrounding cannabis. By helping to establish safe and effective practices within plant-touching operations, the company believes overall consumer confidence and trust in the nascent marketplace will increase.
The list of training topics is also constantly evolving, remaining up-to-date with regulatory shifts as the space continues to expand. With nationwide legalization approaching, Rootwurks is prepared to tackle legislation on federal and state levels.
For Eastman and the rest of the team, the goal is to ensure operators have everything they need to reduce compliance headaches and dedicate their time to what matters: running a thriving company.
“We’re trying to build a solution that is very nimble so that we can react to the complex challenges that the cannabis industry faces,” Eastman said. “The ability to help operators navigate that complexity so they can focus on growing their business is something I think is really important.”