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The world of SEO is dizzying. Add cannabis SEO into the mix and the challenge is even greater. 

If you’re one of the thousands of new cannabis entrepreneurs in the U.S. then you’ve likely had to grapple with the perils of digital marketing. SEO is just one of many factors to consider, but it’s an important one. Many of the standard rules are compromised by regulations and compliance concerns, so there’s a lot to navigate.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the top things to consider when trying to implement an SEO strategy for your cannabis website. Keep reading to learn more.

First, What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the practice of optimizing your online content for search engines. SEO makes Google, Bing, and other search engines better equipped to understand your content so they can place that content in front of the right eyeballs. 

A website that has implemented solid SEO strategies will have a better chance of ranking in search results. So when a customer searches “best dispensary near me,” an SEO website will rank above sites that aren’t investing in SEO.

The goal is to make content that appeals to humans first, then algorithms, so that people can find and enjoy what you produce. The end result of investing in SEO is a ton of organic traffic to your website, so it’s worth thinking about.

Cannabis SEO: Compliance Considerations

So, what makes cannabis SEO so challenging? 

The main concern is compliance. There are a number of laws regulating what companies can and can’t say in their marketing messaging. Here are the main ones:

  • Making health or wellness claims is prohibited
  • Marketing to minors is prohibited
  • Marketing must be contained to legal states online

When it comes to SEO for cannabis, the main problem arises when navigating the first law: no health or wellness claims. This is because many of the leading cannabis and CBD-related keywords are non-compliant.

Here are some examples of keywords that could get your business into trouble with the FDA or other regulatory bodies:

  • CBD for anxiety
  • Best CBD oil for depression
  • Weed gummies for pain
  • Cannabis for sleep

Since these terms are searched by thousands of Americans each month, they are ideal for SEO. But using them in your marketing messaging could result in legal repercussions and irreparable reputational damage. Some of these repercussions could include:

  • Lawsuits 
  • FDA warning letter
  • FTC – fines, fees, and penalties 
  • Enforcement action by state attorneys general 

Any of those repercussions could have a catastrophic impact on your ability to do business, especially in difficult economic times. 

Cannabis SEO managers must balance their marketing goals with a keen understanding of general consumer protection law and be able to evaluate representation claims.

This makes the tradeoff between compliance and SEO difficult to measure since reputational harm can have a significant and potentially terminal impact on your business. 

Best Ways to Improve SEO for Cannabis and CBD Brands

This leaves many licensed cannabis and CBD businesses with a difficult decision: cannabis SEO or compliance?

Luckily, there are ways you can improve your website’s ranking in SEO without using non-compliant messaging in your product descriptions. The best strategy for boosting your site’s SEO is to build a blog. This way you can create posts that contain keywords without containing misinformation or false claims. 

Here are some examples of blog post ideas that could use keywords:

  • The Truth About CBD for Anxiety
  • Looking for the Best CBD Oil For Depression? Read This First.
  • Can You Take Weed Gummies For Pain? What You Need to Know.
  • Can You Use Cannabis For Sleep? Here’s the Truth.

Keywords don’t need to be used literally to count towards SEO, but you’ll want to ensure they fit the following criteria:

  • They are used in an organic-sounding and natural way
  • They are included in titles
  • They are included in some headings
  • They are mentioned naturally a few times in the text throughout

Other than that, just be sure to include a lot of high-value and well-written information. This will improve your site’s bounce rate along with other metrics, which also helps with SEO. Remember to never sacrifice user experience and value for SEO. Otherwise, the metrics will reflect that humans did not benefit from your content. And if humans don’t like it, neither will search engines. 

Master Digital Messaging Compliance With Qredible

Still concerned about how your website might perform in search? Curious if your current messaging is compliant and safe? Qredible® can help.

Our software uses advanced artificial intelligence to actively monitor your messaging, electronically flagging any potential violations for your review. You’ll be able to protect your business by avoiding any potential legal risk in your online and label messaging.

Qredible is the cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry’s only online registry of validated and verified businesses. We are working hard to ensure safer commerce for everyone in the industry, from growers all the way down to consumers. We also support ancillary businesses like financial institutions, merchant processors, trucking and logistic companies, and other third-party product and service providers serving the industry. 

If you want to learn more about how our software can help you protect and grow your business, sign up for one of our free, no-obligation webinars

You’ll meet Rick, our President and COO, who will answer all your questions and guide you through a demo of our industry-disrupting technology.

New Cannabis Technology and Innovations

So much about the cannabis industry is evolving on a daily basis. From shifting regulations and laws, criminal expungements, market predictions, and technological innovations—it can be difficult to keep up with everything that’s happening.

Yes, the industry can be overwhelming, but it’s also exciting. That’s why we love working in it; there’s always something new happening. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the latest cannabis technology innovations making waves in the cannabis world.

Keep reading to learn more.

Innovations in Cannabis Technology for Agriculture

The agriculture industry is quickly evolving to meet the increasing demand in the cannabis industry. Here are some exciting innovations in cannabis cultivation.

Cannabis Crop Steering Technology

Like most crops, cannabis growth is regulated by hormones that react to the environment around them. Recent innovative technologies have allowed growers to execute a greater degree of control over the development of their crops with crop steering.

Crop steering is a method by which farmers manage a controlled growing environment to regulate the hormones being produced by cannabis plants. Environmental aspects that crop steering can affect include temperature, humidity, and soil water levels.

These systems require advanced sensor technology, tracking tools, and both AI and manual controls to ensure all steering takes place at optimal times. This method is constantly evolving and improving with the inclusion of new software and hardware. In the near future, it’s likely that AI will begin managing crop steering strategies for farmers.

More farmers are using this technology to increase their crop yield and flower production, and ultimately increase profits. 

Vertical Farming Technology

Vertical farming is one of the agriculture industry’s solutions for space-saving farming. The technique isn’t new, but recent advancements are making this method more accessible, efficient, and effective. 

Vertical farming involves the use of racks to support trays of crops. The bottom of each rack can have an LED light that evenly distributes light to the plants on the rack below. Air ventilation, smart controls, and energy-saving tech can help vertical farmers create habitats where crops can thrive in a fraction of the space of a traditional farm. 

Genetic Cannabis Engineering

These days, innovation starts before the plant hits the soil. Genetic engineering has opened up a world of cultivation possibilities that have led to better, more resilient, and more valuable crops. 

While genetic engineering isn’t particularly new, innovations in technology have allowed scientists to achieve more specific, desirable traits. Plus, genetic engineering used to take an extended length of time, but it can now be accomplished more efficiently and effectively. 

Some of the traits that can be adjusted with genetic engineering include:

  • Climate tolerance
  • Pest resistance
  • Size
  • Grow rate
  • CBD and THC ratio
  • Flavor and scent

This is one of the most exciting fields of innovation for cannabis cultivation, and researchers are only just beginning to learn more.

Innovations in Cannabis Technology for Commerce

On the business side of the cannabis industry, there are plenty of innovations keeping retailers, manufacturers, and other industry members on their toes. 

Consumer Data and Analytics

With the advancement of reporting software, many tech companies have been able to provide in-depth information about purchase drivers, and consumer behavior. But innovative applications of this technology are likely to result in a more sophisticated understanding of every aspect of the industry. 

These analytics are critical as the changing acceptance and legalization status of the cannabis industry is going to change the demographics and the psychographics of the buyers. Watching these market segments change over time is critical to understanding how to market and sell cannabis products in the future. 

Reporting and Monitoring Software

Reporting software can also offer data about production during the cultivation stage, and monitor weed genetics and watering cycles. It can monitor a company’s messaging to ensure they are remaining compliant and producing safe, high-quality products. 

Claim, License, and Certification Validation Software

As it currently stands, cannabis brands and businesses can make pretty much any claims they want to make, and there are few regulatory bodies working to actively monitor those claims. The FDA and various state cannabis commissions, for example, simply don’t have the resources to wade through the amount of work that needs to be done in this space.

Even though the FDA recently announced that it will not regulate CBD and that it was calling on Congress to act, it was explicit that it will continue to watch, monitor, and issue warnings and fines, fees, and penalties in conjunction with the FTC. 

“The FDA will continue to take action against CBD and other cannabis-derived products to protect the public, in coordination with state regulatory partners, when appropriate,” said Janet Woodcock, principal deputy commissioner, of the FDA. “We will remain diligent in monitoring the marketplace, identifying products that pose risks, and acting within our authorities.” 

Claim and certification validation software can verify and actively monitor a company’s claims, quality certifications, licensing, ingredient lists, product labels, and lab testing. This means customers can shop with confidence that what they see on a Q-verified brand’s labels, website, and social media is accurate and trustworthy.

Blockchain Technology

It’s no secret that the cannabis industry has a considerable lab shopping and fake lab report problem. As a result of this issue, states across the country have found that a concerning percentage of products being sold in licensed dispensaries contain contaminants. Even more are mislabeled for potency. Some even have troublesome levels of prohibited pesticides or fungicides. 

Blockchain technology improves the accuracy and efficacy of lab reports by storing all lab documentation in a secure, immutable, and accessible digital location. Q-verified labs in Qredible go through a vetting process and are directly integrated into the secure hyper-fabric ledger blockchain. This creates peace of mind by reducing the risk of fraudulently modified lab reports. The result is safer, more reliable cannabis and CBD products. 

Disruptive Technology for a Safer Industry

Qredible is the cannabis industry’s only digital registry of validated and verified cannabis, CBD, and hemp brands. 

Not only does the technology verify claims made by brands and businesses, but it also brings together numerous other cannabis technology innovations including:

  • Blockchain databases for secure, immutable, and trustworthy documentation
  • Active AI monitoring to ensure the most relevant and up-to-date information is available for consumers
  • Remediation software to help businesses show the positive changes they’ve made in response to negative reviews
  • Credibility scores and seals to help customers easily pick out the most trustworthy and reliable cannabis, CBD, and hemp products

Qredible is currently working with many brands. It is only being offered today as a business-to-business model; however, Qredible is preparing for a national launch to consumers in the coming months. Qredible will be offered 100% free for consumers to use. Businesses in Qredible pay to take advantage of its tools and support, and to show customers that they’re willing to stand behind their products. 

If you’re an end user of hemp, CBD, or legal cannabis brands, stay tuned for when we launch to consumers. You will have the ability to download a very powerful app to inform you of critical updates about your brand, including product recalls and the status of licenses, certifications, and other tools to research the company and the brand. You will be wise to look for the Q-Verified seal on the company and product that you are using. 

If you’re a business interested in being in Qredible, sign up for a free hour-long informational session where a member of our team will give you a complete demo and answer any of your questions. 

You can request an individual one-on-one session or join one of our many group webinars where you can sit back, enjoy lunch and learn. We will discuss how easy, simple, and extremely cost-effective it is to differentiate yourself by becoming Q-Verified.

How To Get a New Jersey Cannabis License

How To Get a New Jersey Cannabis License

To operate a recreational or medical use cannabis business in New Jersey, you must first apply for an NJ cannabis business license. The application process might appear complicated at first, but it’s actually quite streamlined.

If your business performs any commercialized activities involving legalized cannabis, you need an NJ cannabis business license. This includes:

  • Growing cannabis or hemp
  • Storing cannabis or cannabis-related products
  • Manufacturing cannabis products
  • Transporting anything containing cannabis
  • Selling anything containing cannabis
  • Testing cannabis products
  • Delivering cannabis products to consumers

Failing to follow the proper steps and procedures during the licensing process can result in a rejection of your application. And operating unlicensed is a recipe for disaster. With New Jersey officials cracking down on unlicensed cannabis businesses, it’s a risk that will result in catastrophic damages to your business and your life.

Understanding the cannabis license process is critical for a successful application. In this article, I’ll outline the basic information you need to know to apply for a cannabis business license in New Jersey. Keep reading to learn more.

New Jersey Cannabis License Types

Since the CREAMM Act (Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act) was established and signed into law by Governor Murphy, six types of cannabis businesses are now eligible for licenses in New Jersey. 

The CREAMM Act provides the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission the authority to further expand and develop the current Medicinal Cannabis Program. This includes the provisions for further regulation and enforcement provisions of the rules and activities associated with recreational cannabis for adults 21 years or older. The Act also addresses other important issues related to cannabis.

New cannabis businesses can apply for a conditional license. This allows business owners to operate legally for a temporary period of time as they develop the systems required to obtain one of the six official licenses. 

There are significant differences in the application process—in particular, the cost of fees—between mid and micro-sized companies, but the general process is similar.

Here are the six cannabis license types available in New Jersey:

  • Class 1: allows cannabis cultivators to grow adult-use crops
  • Class 2: allows cannabis manufacturers to create adult-use products
  • Class 3: allows cannabis wholesalers to facilitate the sale of, store, and transport adult-use products
  • Class 4: allows cannabis distributors to transport and sell large quantities of adult-use products within state lines
  • Class 5: allows cannabis retailers to purchase and sell adult-use products
  • Class 6: allows cannabis delivery companies to transport adult-use products to customers

NJ Cannabis License Social Equity Initiative

In an effort to increase social equity in the New Jersey cannabis industry, the state has implemented a prioritization program that provides application preference to marginalized groups and those from economically disadvantaged areas.

The prioritized groups are outlined below. They are designated for:

  • Members of marginalized communities: businesses owned by those the New Jersey Department of the Treasury classifies as minorities, women, disabled people, or veterans
  • Members of economically disadvantaged communities: business owners who have lived in specific state-designated areas, or those who are impacted by a cannabis-related criminal offense
  • Impact Zone businesses: businesses located in, owned by a resident of, or employing residents of Impact Zones
  • Microbusinesses: businesses with fewer than ten employees operating in less than 2,500 square feet

How to Get an NJ Cannabis Business License

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Commission oversees all cannabis licenses in NJ through its online platform. 

To begin an application, you’ll need to register for an account, confirm your email, then log in to your account. Once in the portal, you’ll be taken through the following steps:

  • Create a new application
  • Add all relevant information under the General Information tab
  • Complete the license information
  • Include detailed information about applicants and answer the required questions
  • Add all information about the primary contact
  • Include detailed location information and answer the required questions
  • Provide the required documentation
  • Complete your payment
  • Review all information for accuracy and completeness

Once you’ve submitted your application, you may review your application status in the dashboard. Here you can also review information about payments and invoices, and make updates to your application and account.

How Much Does an NJ Cannabis License Cost?

The cost of a New Jersey cannabis business license varies depending on the size and category of your business.

How Much Does an NJ Cannabis License Application Cost?

First, business owners must consider application and certification fees. Both conditional and full license applicants can expect to pay $4,000 for a standard business and $3,000 for a microbusiness. 

Additional fees that range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 apply to those seeking certain medical cannabis expansions or vertically integrated alternative treatment centers.

How Much Are NJ Cannabis Licensing Fees?

Licensing fees for New Jersey cannabis businesses are as follows:

  • Fees for cultivators: between $5,000 and $50,000 depending on size and $1,000 for microbusinesses
  • Fees for manufacturers: between $20,000 and $30,000 depending on size and $1,000 for microbusinesses
  • Fees for retailers: $10,000 for standard businesses and $1,000 for microbusinesses.

Get Your Cannabis Business License in NJ

The key to a successful New Jersey cannabis business license application is preparedness. Before you apply for your license, ensure your business is compliant with federal, municipal, and state regulations. You must enter the application with an understanding of what type of business license you’re applying for and whether or not you meet certain requirements for prioritization.

Once you’re ready, complete the pre-application checklist:

  • Ensure compliance with all regulations
  • Prepare a solid business plan
  • Select a business structure
  • Obtain tax ID numbers
  • Select and register your business name
  • Open a business account with a New Jersey bank
  • Get insured and create a plan for remaining insured
  • Research local commercial spaces
  • Gather documentation to prove eligibility for application priority
  • Gather documentation to prove compliance

Streamline the Cannabis Licensing Application Process With Qredible®

Once you’ve obtained your license, you can validate it on your Qredible® profile. Qredible is the industry’s only digital registry of validated and verified legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies. Qredible can also assist you by finding a qualified attorney in the state through our community of professionals.  

Qredible makes it easy to prove your compliance and gain trust with investors, retailers, and consumers by demonstrating the validity of your license. But it also makes the pre-application process simple with a series of tools and functionalities designed to ensure compliance and quality assurance.

At Qredible, we’re working hard to ensure trustworthy businesses outperform their corner-cutting competitors. To learn more about how we can support your team, set up a discovery call.

How To Open a Dispensary in 7 Steps

As more states introduce legislation that legalizes adult-use or medical cannabis, many savvy businesspeople are curious about the process of opening a dispensary. The upfront investment of opening a dispensary may be intimidating, but the projected growth of the industry is, for many, worth it.

Opening a dispensary involves a lot of moving parts: accessing capital, building an inventory, and remaining compliant are critical for anyone interested in operating in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry. Additionally, there are significant differences in fees for companies of different sizes.

In this article, I’ll break down the process of opening a dispensary into seven steps. Keep reading to learn how to get your business started on the right foot.

How to Open a Dispensary

So, you’ve decided to start a dispensary. What’s next? You might have a great name and a solid understanding of the industry or products, but it takes a lot more than just that. 

Here’s how to open a dispensary in 2022.

1. Assess Your Eligibility

Before you set out to start a dispensary, you should confirm that your business is eligible in your state. The majority of states have legalized either medical or adult-use cannabis, but there are still plenty of restrictions surrounding the type of businesses that can operate. 

Check out the legislation in your state and confirm that you’re eligible before you proceed with the following steps. Most experts believe that universal regulation is fast approaching, so you may need to put your plans on hold for that day. 

Until then, it’s best not to waste your time and resources if you are ineligible. 

2. Research the Market

If you have previous experience as a business owner, this step will be easy for you. Conducting research on your local cannabis market will involve the same processes as conducting research in any other market. 

Challenges could arise, however, if legislation has only recently passed in your state. In this case, you may only have information regarding the illicit market in your area. Here are a few things you can do when facing this problem:

  • Conduct research on neighboring states with legalized cannabis
  • Examine cities with similar population sizes and demographics
  • If you’re opening an adult-use cannabis dispensary, take a look at the medical market in your area, if one exists
  • Consider meeting with a consultant

Market research is an essential step in opening a cannabis dispensary, so don’t skip over this part. Be sure to conduct thorough research and gather credible sources. It will pay dividends when you start applying for funding, insurance, and licenses.

3. Find a Compliant Commercial Space

Most states have regulations about where dispensaries are allowed to operate. These vary by state, but typically you can expect to have to steer clear of schools and churches. Consider partnering with a commercial real estate agent who specializes in dispensaries or cannabis businesses to help you understand what spaces will be compliant with local regulations. 

If your state has just recently passed legislation regulating adult-use cannabis, many commercial landlords could feel hesitant to lease to you. This is one of many times when your market research will come in handy. Demonstrating the success of other dispensaries in similar neighborhoods could go a long way.

4. Create a Business Plan

At this point, it’s reasonable to begin composing a comprehensive business plan. Gather your market research and create some data visualizations. Add all the necessary information about your commercial space. Confirm and validate your eligibility.

Some other information you can begin to gather in this stage are outlined below.

Obtaining Capital

This is one of the most challenging parts of opening a dispensary because financial institutions are uniquely stringent with any cannabis-related businesses. 

For this reason, you’ll have to obtain funding from investors which is no easy task. Also, the barrier to entry for dispensaries is significant in most places across the country. 

You don’t actually have to access capital at this point, though you certainly need a realistic and detailed plan for how you plan to meet this requirement. 

Create a Budget

In the planning stage, you should also prepare a detailed, scalable budget. 

Include information such as: 

  • Rent costs
  • Licenses and licensing fees
  • Salaries
  • Hiring costs
  • Inventory cost
  • Transportation and storage of inventory
  • Security costs

Since you’ve already conducted extensive research and found a compliant property, you should have most of the information you need. 

Do Your Research

Any good business plan should include information about your competitors and the local market. If you completed the previous steps thoroughly, this should already be complete. Include information about unlicensed and licensed competitors, demographics, and psycho-demographics. 

Be sure to present the data you obtain in a visually pleasing way, and remember that this document will need to convince investors and other business partners to believe in your plan. 

5. Apply for a Business License

Like most of the other official processes on this list, the steps for applying for a cannabis business license will be different in each state. 

More than requirements, many states even have license prioritization programs designed to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in their state’s cannabis industry. In New Jersey, for example, officials prioritize certain businesses based on a specific set of criteria.

In this stage, you’ll have to have access to capital, since many of the licensing fees and application fees are expensive. In an effort to make the cannabis industry more equitable, however, dispensaries that don’t exceed a state’s requirements for microbusiness status can qualify for more affordable licensing fees. 

6. Obtain Inventory

Once you’ve applied for and obtained your license, it’s time for the fun part: building out your inventory. The process for this will vary depending on whether you are an adult-use or medical dispensary.

Although this stage is exciting, it can also be filled with risk. A significant number of cannabis product manufacturers routinely mislabel or mishandle their inventory. This can be done through falsified or outdated lab reports and inaccurate claims

Products that are mislabelled or not tested properly pose a significant liability risk to every member of the supply chain. Not to mention the reputational harm that can be inflicted upon your business in the case of a customer complaint, FDA warning letter, FTC warning, or product recall.

Take extreme caution when selecting products to carry in your store. Not only could these choices make or break your business, but they could also cause catastrophic harm to your customers.

Unfortunately, there are very few ways to ensure you are getting the best cannabis products for your dispensary. One strategy is to work with a licensed, reputable distributor. This could unlock specialist knowledge about the manufacturers and brands available to you. But distributors don’t always have access to verified and validated sources such as authentic COAs and lab reports.

The best way to have complete confidence in the products you stock in your dispensary is by using Qredible®. Qredible is the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry’s only digital registry of validate and verified products and businesses. 

Using advanced blockchain technology, Q-Verified labs submit all data directly from the testing equipment into a blockchain registry, making it impossible to modify the original document.

Without a doubt, all professionals that want to protect and grow their business need to be in Qredible. It is quickly becoming the industry standard for quality and those who do not opt-in will soon notice their customers, business partners, investors, and others in the industry turn away to seek more trustworthy options.  

7. Create a Marketing Plan

Once you’ve established yourself and selected products you can stand behind, it’s time to let your city know who you are. Set up a website and social media accounts, then set up Google My Business so you can begin gathering customer reviews as soon as you open.

Marketing for cannabis companies is complex. There are few universal pieces of advice since many marketing and advertising regulations are governed by the state. 

I won’t lie—it’s difficult to keep up with the changing rules regarding cannabis marketing. But there are resources that can help.

But by signing up for Qredible, not only can you monitor the compliance of your manufacturers and business partners, but you can also monitor your own messaging. It’s one of many ways Qredible helps you to stay on top of the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape in your state.

Qredible’s AI-driven technology actively monitors your brand messaging on packaging and online to protect you from any potential liability. It also monitors the products you sell, so you can make sure every product that leaves your dispensary is compliant. 

Find Support for Opening a Dispensary in Qredible® 

Starting a dispensary is a challenging but rewarding process. With a tool like Qredible, you can make that process infinitely simpler and less risky. 

To find out more about our resources designed to help you stay compliant, select the right products, and even obtain funding from financial institutions, set up a discovery call today. Our team would love to learn more about how we can support you.

Trust, transparency, and support to protect and grow your business: that’s what you’ll find in Qredible. Want to learn more? Get started today.

Social Media for Cannabis

When marketing legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp products online, there’s a lot to consider. From changing regulations to strict platform guidelines—it’s difficult to establish yourself on social media in our industry. And often, marketing cannabis products on social media can lead to your account being banned.

Despite the challenge, social media is still a leading strategy for reaching consumers and building an audience. So, what are the dos and don’ts of marketing cannabis on social media? 

In this article, we’ll go over some basic rules and best practices to follow and give you some cannabis social media marketing ideas that will help you get started.

What You Can and Can’t Say in Cannabis Marketing on Social Media

When crafting your cannabis marketing material, there are many factors to consider. First, and most importantly, are the regulations in your state. All states with legalized adult-use cannabis have restrictions and regulations on what can and can’t be said in marketing messaging.

These regulations are in place to protect consumers, including minors, so it’s critically important to follow them. Since each state has unique regulations, be sure to refer to your local government for further instructions. 

Some attornies recommend that companies continuously review and update past social media posts as regulations change. The FDA and FTC can judge previous posts through the lens of the current laws and penalize the companies responsible accordingly.  

At the federal level, there are regulations regarding health claims that pertain to legalized cannabis and CBD. Claims that are not allowed in cannabis marketing include claims that suggest a cannabis product can:

  • Cure, lessen, or relieve any physical disease or illness
  • Cure, lessen, or relieve any mental health condition
  • Alleviate pain, physical disease symptoms, or mental health symptoms
  • Prevent mental or physical disease or illness

This includes the following:

  • Labeling a product as “anti-” something (anti-inflammatory, for example)
  • Suggesting usage for specific conditions
  • Naming physical or mental illness in the product labeling or marketing messaging

Once you’ve confirmed your marketing is compliant with government regulations, it’s time to consider platform guidelines. 

No social media platform will allow paid advertising of cannabis products due to the lack of federal regulations. Different platforms each have their own set of user guidelines and their own disciplinary actions for noncompliance in terms of cannabis-related organic content. 

Here’s a brief overview of what each platform says about cannabis content:

Instagram for Cannabis Marketing

Instagram does not allow cannabis businesses to promote direct methods of contact on their business profile, however, they are allowed to link to their website. 

The site guidelines prohibit the promotion of cannabis products (even if it’s legal in the business’s region) and there have been reports of accounts being removed for promoting cannabis. However, there is a thriving community of legal U.S. cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies on the app.

TikTok for Cannabis Marketing

TikTok is firmly against the promotion of any cannabis-related products. The algorithm is trained to flag videos that feature cannabis-related content and hashtags, so it’s incredibly difficult to grow or build an audience. 

The platform has also been known to ban users from posting content related to cannabis. For these reasons, it’s not recommended for cannabis businesses at this time.

Facebook for Cannabis Marketing

Facebook is not a cannabis-friendly platform when it comes to organic growth, ads, and posts. They do allow hemp companies that comply with all laws to promote their companies. 


However, Facebook groups are a good option for building a community. This option is especially ideal for local businesses and dispensaries. 

YouTube for Cannabis Marketing

YouTube is one of the best platforms for posting cannabis-related content. While the content will not be monetizable (meaning you will not be eligible for YouTube’s creator payment program), there are countless videos about adult and medical use of cannabis and CBD that have racked up millions of views.

Reddit for Cannabis Marketing

Reddit communities exist for almost every type of cannabis product and use, so it’s a great place to engage with your audience, build a following, and provide quality customer service.

Pinterest for Cannabis Marketing 

Pinterest’s community guidelines state that commercial sales of cannabis products are not allowed on their platform, but they do allow posts about cannabis-related topics. Recipes with adult-use cannabis edibles, for example, are common on the app.

3 Cannabis Marketing Ideas for Social Media in 2023

Now that you understand the best practices for cannabis marketing on social media, let’s explore some trending strategies for 2023.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and user-generated content (UGC) have been trending for a few years now, and these types of marketing are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Working with cannabis influencers on social media or cannabis affiliate marketing bloggers is a great way to reach new customers. This is especially true for brands just beginning to establish themselves.

Influencers and affiliate marketers don’t just work on Instagram and TikTok—there are influencers across all social media platforms. A Pinterest cooking influencer, for example, could try one of your edibles in a recipe, or a self-care YouTuber could try your CBD face masks as a part of their nighttime routine.

The important thing to remember with influencers and affiliate marketers is that they are contractors. As such, your contract with them should stipulate that they don’t make claims that go against regulations. Influencers must be equally as careful to follow regulations as the businesses that hire them. 

Branch Out on Social Media

If you’ve been struggling to grow on one platform for a long period of time, consider branching out to new platforms. While Instagram is the go-to for most social media marketing strategies, it’s increasingly difficult to grow on the platform. 

Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube are all great options to consider in addition to your Instagram efforts. All these platforms have different best practices and will require unique strategies to succeed, but stepping outside a platform you have been struggling with can unlock a new audience.

Curate an Experience

On platforms like Pinterest, trend predictions highlight the ways social media users use apps to find inspiration for IRL experiences. Regardless of the medium they choose, the best social media marketers do this with storytelling.

Try imagining why your customers purchase your products and use your social posts to paint a picture for them. Think: an Instagram reel about the top 5 cannabis tourism stops in your state, a carousel post about self-care THC bath bombs and face masks, or a nightly journaling and meditation routine featuring your all-star CBD product.  

Sell and Promote Your Cannabis in a Trusted Marketplace

All good marketing strategies begin by developing a foundation of trust with your customers. And there’s no better place to do that than in Qredible®

It is important to stipulate that Qredible is not an online marketplace like Leafly, Weedmaps, and other platforms. Qredible is a 100% unbiased resource. This means we never profit from the sale of products on our platform; however, we do provide the ability for consumers to research the authenticity of brands and products. 

We provide a link to the sale site where your products are represented. Qredible is the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry’s only digital registry of validated and verified brands that provides a host of tools and functionalities to help you grow and protect your business. 

We genuinely want to see the expansion and growth of this industry through the promotion of safe and trustworthy brands. The costs of doing business in this industry is high enough without us putting ourselves in the middle of your revenue stream!

The focus of the Qredible marketplace is to provide a central hub where subscribers can manage and promote how potential buyers buy from them, whether it is a direct link to their e-commerce site or direct links to multiple integrated marketplaces and platforms.

If a company needs help with an e-commerce site, Qredible offers Q-Transact—a white-label integrated scalable e-commerce system designed for growth and simplicity, without having to pay an e-commerce participation fee. 

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.

How to Get an ISO-9001 Certification

Curious about getting an ISO-9001 certification? For legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies, few certifications hold as much weight. It is a globally recognized standard for quality control (QC) and its standards are the most commonly used in the world. 

Simply put: the certification demonstrates that your organization has sufficient quality management systems (QMS) to produce products that consistently meet QC standards. This signals to customers that the brand that they are using is serious about its pursuit of quality and that they can be more confident in their purchase.

In our industry, trust is difficult to come by. So the ISO-9001 certification is one of many steps a company can take toward the pursuit of quality standards. It can make a difference in the way customers perceive your cannabis or CBD product.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to get an ISO 9001 certification for legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp products. Keep reading to learn more.

Benefits of an ISO-9001 Certification

An ISO-9001 certification is an important tool for building trust with your customers, buyers, retailers, and financial partners. As the industry matures, it could follow in the footsteps of others and become necessary, either to stay competitive or as a legal requirement for certain business agreements. 

In addition to improving public perception of your products and business, an ISO-9001 certification can improve the following aspect of your business:

  • Efficiency and productivity
  • Environmental impact
  • Waste management
  • Overall profitability

The certification also helps operations minimize the risks associated with noncompliance or a lack of quality control.

How to Get an ISO-9001 Certification

The process for obtaining an ISO-9001 certification is less complicated than it appears. Here are the basics:

  1. Develop and implement robust and reliable QMSs compliant with CASCO standards
  2. Select a certifying body
  3. Submit to an audit by the certifying body
  4. Display your certification and follow labeling requirements

First, the ISO is not a certifying body. To obtain a certification, your operation will have to coordinate the process with an accredited certifier.  

When selecting a certifying organization, confirm the following:

  • The certifying body follows the CASCO standards
  • The certifying body is accredited

As a best practice, evaluate multiple options in order to select one with a good reputation and efficient certifying process.

Steps for Obtaining an ISO-9001 Certification

Once you’ve decided on a third-party certifying body, it’s time to begin the process of internal auditing and preparing. Internal auditing will ensure your team avoids mistakes that could result in a failed certification audit.

Here’s a brief checklist of what to do to ensure your internal audit is successful:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the standards
  2. Plan your internal audit processes, including departments and frequency
  3. Hire a third-party auditor
  4. Prepare for the audit
  5. Review the audit results
  6. Perform corrective actions
  7. Plan the follow-up audit

Repeat this process until your facility passes without the need for corrective actions to avoid failing the certifying body’s audit.

The ISO-9001 Audit Process

Once your company has, at minimum, two months of required documentation, you can conduct an official certifying audit. ISO-9001 audits are comprised of three parts: 

  • An initial meeting: The representative from the certifying body and the manager of the company being audited will meet to discuss the company’s goals, the audit schedule, and the process. 
  • The audit: The representative will conduct a thorough audit of all departments to ensure compliance with your documentation. This can include employee interviews.
  • A concluding meeting: At this meeting, the representative will present their findings and discuss any noncompliance issues. Depending on their conclusions, you may either be required to perform corrective actions, or you will be given your certification. 

What are the ISO-9001 Standards for Cannabis and Hemp?

The Committee on Conformity Assessment is the initiative responsible for the standards businesses must follow to obtain a certification. These standards are generic and can be applied to most products, including cannabis, CBD, and hemp.

As a general rule, a company must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Its ability to consistently produce quality products
  • Its ability to consistently produce products that satisfy the needs of its customers
  • It has sufficient systems in place to ensure consistent compliance with relevant regulations
  • It is actively implementing systems to improve products for customers

During the certification process, a representative from a certifying body will conduct an audit of the following:

  • The context of your organization
  • Your leadership team
  • Your planning processes
  • Your risk mitigation strategies
  • Your support systems
  • All operational systems and processes
  • Design and development processes
  • Performance evaluation processes
  • Improvement systems

The goal of the certifying body is to determine whether or not a company has sufficiently proved its ability to produce consistently high-quality and compliant products.

Additionally, they will assess the way the company addresses risks and opportunities, and its efforts to improve customer satisfaction.  

Validate and Verify Your Certifications with Qredible®

Once your auditor awards your certification, you can then verify its validity in Qredible’s Q-Trust platform. Qredible will confirm the validity of the certification and then issue a smart contract ID in our blockchain and provide a tamper-proof seal validating the authenticity of the certification. 

Qredible is not a compliance enforcement office, regulatory initiative, or certification body like ISO, the U.S. Hemp Authority, or the USDA. Our technology and platform were designed to support the collaboration of quality assurance programs and brands to ensure safer commerce for everyone in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp supply chain. 

ISO is setting and upholding standards that uplift responsible businesses and create a safer industry. We are proud to do our part to support their work.  

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.

How to Get a USDA Organic

Organic legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp are subject to stringent quality assurance processes. As such, certified products are more likely to be of higher quality than uncertified products. In our industry, which suffers from a lack of trust, the certification is a powerful value driver that can increase customer trust and demand, leading to overall business profitability. 

Until recently, it has been incredibly difficult for consumers to trust the validity of legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp products that are claimed to be organic. This is because these products were not eligible for USDA certification programs until the Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018 were amended to include hemp and cannabis as certifiable crops. 

Today, the USDA is one of many valuable keys to unlocking a safer cannabis industry. Although Qredible is not affiliated with the USDA, we are supportive and bullish on the work that they are doing to drive quality, safety, and transparency in the industry.

In this article, we’ll discuss the process to obtain a USDA organic certification for legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp products. Keep reading to learn how to become a USDA-certified organic grower.

Benefits of a USDA Organic Certification

Studies have shown that customer perception of organic products is largely positive, with respondents reporting the following associations:

  • Healthy
  • More nutritious than non-organic
  • Natural
  • Environmentally friendly

This is because organic certifications mean a product was cultivated without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides that have been found to have a significant negative impact on human and environmental health. 

Cannabis plants are cultivated for multiple uses including, industrial hemp, medical marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. They have the inherent ability to absorb whatever is in the soil which includes heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants. This is one of the reasons that cannabis has been used in the past for remediating the soil of contaminated sites. 

Cannabis acts like a sponge as it grows, which places an emphasis on the importance of safety measures during the farming process. For this reason, organic farming holds even more value from a safety perspective for cannabis. 

Organic farms are required to employ strategies to maintain soil health and prevent environmental degradation while also minimizing the harmful absorption danger common in the cannabis plant. Soil health has a direct impact on food nutrition density, which means that consumers perceive organic cannabis, CBD, and hemp products as a more sustainable and health-conscious choice. 

Moreover, the market for organic products has grown consistently for over a decade. Since the USDA organic seal is among the most recognized certifications in the country, it will go a long way in establishing trust with American cannabis and CBD consumers. 

How to Get a USDA Organic Certification

The process for obtaining a USDA Organic certification is less complicated than it appears. That being said, the certificate may take time to obtain due to a requirement of soil readiness and testing, prohibiting certain substances from being applied to the soil for three years prior to harvest. Here are the basics:

  1. Develop and implement an organic systems plan (OSP)
  2. Submit an application and pay the required fees
  3. Have your plan, processes, and facility audited by an accredited agent
  4. Receive your certification from the certifying agent

Once you’ve earned your certification, it will be valid for one year. In order to maintain USDA-certified organic status, a business will need to submit to an annual review of its processes. You will also be responsible for following labeling requirements

What are the USDA Standards for Organic Cannabis and Hemp?

The USDA’s standards for organic crop cultivation are complex. It’s important to review them closely and consult with other organic farmers and specialists to ensure all appropriate steps are taken.

USDA Crop Standards

At a glance, organic crop standards ensure:

  • No land has been exposed to prohibited substances for at least three years before an organic harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. 
  • Soil and crop nutrient levels are effectively and accurately managed with strategies such as appropriate tillage and cultivation practices, rotating, cover cropping, animal waste, crop waste, and permitted synthetic additives
  • Permitted management practices are the main form of control for pests and weeds
  • Permitted biological, botanical, and synthetic control methods are used only if control practices are not sufficient 
  • All crops come from organically grown seeds and stock
  • Absolutely no GMOs, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge are present

It’s important to note that the process for obtaining a USDA Organic certification is not swift. The organization requires three years of approved inputs before you can get certified. This means that auditors will require detailed documentation and records proving the success and consistency of your OSP. 

The transition to organic farming is a huge learning curve, and the record-keeping requirement can be overwhelming at first. It’s recommended that businesses start slowly to work toward the goal in measured steps. 

Documentation for Becoming USDA Certified

Record keeping is a critical part of the certification process. Agents use your records to confirm the effectiveness and implementation of your OSP. 

Some of the records you may be required to submit for audit include:

  • Basic audit process records such as correspondence, notices, and complaint logs
  • Land information such as maps, field history, soil test, and production records
  • Information regarding seeds and stock such as non-GMO status verification, labels, and planting records
  • Records pertaining to crop harvests such as yield and equipment information
  • Records pertaining to the storage of crops
  • Documentation of the sale of crops including invoices, transportation records, and weight tags

Preparing For Your Inspection

On audit day, a certifying agent will come to your facility to review your plan, documentation, and processes. 

Here are a few tips to prepare:

  • Review the relevant USDA regulations
  • Review your OSP and processes
  • Review the communications from your certifying agent
  • Gather and organize your records

Ultimately, there is no way to cheat the audit. The best way to prepare is to have well-established and solid systems that are compliant and consistent. 

Validate and Verify Your Certifications with Qredible®

Record keeping in Qredible simplifies the complicated process of obtaining a USDA certification. Qredible®’s blockchain-secured registry of immutable documentation expedites the audit process and highlights your commitment to quality and compliance. 

Storing documentation in an accessible, secure digital location will streamline the audit process, while also increasing trust with buyers, investors, financial institutions, and business partners.

Once your agent submits the results of your audit, they will assign your certification status. You can then verify the validity of your certification in Qredible’s Q-Trust platform. After confirmation of your USDA Certification, Qredible will issue a smart contract ID in our blockchain and provide a tamper-proof seal validating the authenticity of the certification. 

Qredible is not a compliance enforcement or regulatory initiative nor is it a certification body, like the USDA or NOP. Our technology and platform were designed to support the collaboration of quality assurance programs and brands to ensure safer commerce for everyone in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp supply chain. 

The USDA is setting and upholding standards that uplift responsible businesses and create a safer industry. We are proud to do our part to support their necessary and very important work.  

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

There are many ways a legalized cannabis, CBD, hemp, or neutraceutical company’s reputation can be damaged on the internet. Bad reviews, FDA warning letters, and bad press can have a catastrophic impact on their ability to secure clients and customers. 

Social proof is widely considered to be the most effective way to persuade customers to purchase a product or service, and this is no different in the legalized cannabis industry. So how can you respond to a negative review? What can you do if your business has experienced the power of social proof in a detrimental way?

In this article, I’ll discuss the recommended strategies for responding to negative reviews. Keep reading to learn how to repair your brand’s digital reputation. 

Strategies for Responding to Bad Reviews

It might be tempting to respond to a negative review with frustration or even anger, but the best course of action involves a much more measured approach.

First, try to remember research shows that consumer trust in reviews has limits—studies found that businesses with reviews higher than 4.5 stars actually performed worse with subjects and were regarded as too good to be true.

So, while I’m not saying bad reviews are a good thing, there is always a bright side. There are also strategies to disarm the negative review and prevent it from ruining consumer trust in your business.  

Here are some strategies for how to deal with a negative customer review of your cannabis business or brand. 

  • Make sure your business/profile is claimed: Most platforms only allow businesses to respond to negative reviews if they have claimed their business profile.
  • Respond to negative reviews quickly: The BBB, Google My Business, and other review-based platforms allow businesses to respond to bad reviews. The sooner you respond to the negative review, the fewer customers will read the review without also seeing your response. 
  • Have a plan: Have a template for responding to negative reviews. This doesn’t mean the review shouldn’t be customized, but it should ensure all the necessary pleasantries are included. Open with a sincere apology, and end by thanking them for sharing their feedback.
  • Never communicate with anger: Be as courteous and respectful as possible. Remember that other customers are reading your response and imagining how they would be treated by you if they had complaints about your products or services. You want to reestablish trust with them.
  • Include information about remediation: Offer to resolve the customer’s complaint. In these situations, it’s up to your discretion to go above and beyond, but remember that doing so will build trust with customers who are reading the negative review.
  • Offer to contact the customer or include contact information: This will reaffirm your business’s commitment to customer satisfaction and show that your team is serious about offering a resolution.
  • Respond even when the bad review is inaccurate: Follow the guidelines above (timely, without anger) and respond appropriately to an inaccurate negative review. Provide evidence for the instance stated, and offer examples of your business practices or other standards of quality you have in place. Answer specifically, firmly, and politely. 
  • Appeal reviews that are abusive or threatening: Even bad reviews are protected by law, but any reviews containing hate speech, threats, or vulgarities may be eligible for removal. 

Strategies for Improving BBB and Google Ratings

A single negative review doesn’t have to ruin a business’s online reputation. Here’s how companies can improve their overall rating to make negative reviews less impactful. 

  • Encourage new reviews: The more customers post positive reviews, the better your chances are of balancing out the bad review. Send out emails, offer prizes or incentives, and remind customers at checkout to review.
  • Be patient: Typically, the most recent bad reviews are the ones that get the most attention. This means the negative review will gradually lose power as time passes. 
  • Make changes: Step back and evaluate each bad review, seek advice from trusted advisors, and see the negative review as a way to improve your business. When needed, make the appropriate changes and invest time and resources in the future of the business. 

How Qredible® Helps Businesses Respond to Bad Reviews and Warning Letters

Unfortunately, most review-based platforms don’t allow businesses to verify their corrective actions and resolutions. In some cases, customers can choose to remove their review once their complaint has been resolved, but that doesn’t happen automatically. This means negative reviews that have been resolved can continue to negatively impact a business’s reputation.

Businesses in Qredible® can use advanced verification technology to validate that corrective actions have been taken and complaints have been resolved. This information will be listed on the Qredible report and profile alongside the complaint so that customers will be able to immediately see that corrective actions were taken. 

This same technology also applies to other negative press and FDA warning letters. When the FDA issues a recall or warning letter, it is critically important that businesses respond by following all the necessary steps, recalling all products, and doing everything in their power to correct the concern.

When they do so, however, the close out-letter is not published and disseminated as the warning letter is. Businesses should issue statements regarding their corrective actions, but once trust has been broken, it’s difficult to earn it back completely.

In Qredible, businesses can publish verified close-out letters indicating the FDA complaint has been resolved. By addressing complaints and bad reviews, they can reestablish trust with their customers, investors, and ancillary businesses.

Respond to Negative Reviews in Qredible® 

In addition to remediation services, Qredible also makes it easier for businesses to avoid complaints, recalls, and legal risks with advanced blockchain technology.

Lab reports are vital resources for all members of the cannabis supply chain. In Qredible, lab reports and COAs come directly from the labs and testing equipment. They are submitted into the blockchain and rendered immutable. 

This limits the risk of product contamination and improves product quality. As a result, it also decreases the possibility of receiving an FDA warning letter or negative review. 

Learn How to Respond to Negative Reviews in Qredible®

In Qredible, you won’t need to learn how to remove negative Google reviews. When businesses complete the Road to Qredibility, they will receive a report that outlines a broad picture of their reputation and history. This includes news articles, litigation reports, and mentions on digital platforms. By verifying corrective actions in Qredible, companies have the power to repair their negative reputation and regain the trust of customers.

Trust, transparency, and support to protect and grow your business: that’s what you’ll find in Qredible. Want to learn more? Get started today.

5 Things Businesses

There are many factors that contribute to a safe and reliable legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry. One of the most important ones is lab testing.

Cannabis lab testing protocols lay the foundation for safe products and safe commerce. Unfortunately, there are players in the industry who don’t always adhere to the rules. Whether accidentally or intentionally done, actions like altered Certificates of Analysis (COAs), outdated lab reports, or misused information leads to a merited distrust of the industry among businesses, consumers, investors, financial institutions, and governments.

When lab reports and COAs are trustworthy and transparent, everyone in the supply chain benefits. But what exactly is a trustworthy lab report? And how can businesses begin to feel more confident in COAs and other laboratory information?

In this article, we will cover the basics of cannabis lab reports and COAs, including requirements, repercussions, and solutions for finding a trustworthy cannabis testing lab near you.   

Is Lab Testing Required For Cannabis?

The laws regarding testing regulations vary state by state. Essentially, every state with some level of legal recreational or medical marijuana requires licensed cannabis products to be tested before sale.

Other regulating and certifying bodies also require COAs and lab reports in order to certify or approve a product. For example, any products grown under the USDA must submit to regular testing as per the organization’s testing standards

Financial institutions also require cannabis businesses to demonstrate compliance with COAs and lab reports. Due to the nature of their operations, they are required to be stringent and meticulous in their assessment of a company’s compliance with federal and state regulations. For this reason, manufacturers, distributors, and other cannabis businesses will need to obtain reliable reports to access financial support. 

It’s also important to note that consumers value reporting transparency with regard to their cannabis testing. This is because some of the leading purchase influences include potency, accurate labeling, quality, and safety. While the average consumer may not read a lab report, the trustworthiness of the information that informs product labeling and messaging is essential to their purchase decision.

Repercussions for Missing, Fraudulent, or Misleading Lab Reports

Businesses that fail to comply with testing regulations will face legal repercussions, risk losing their license, and face damage to their reputation. The same can be said for businesses that use misleading labeling informed by fraudulent or altered lab reports and COAs.

Regardless of whether or not a lab, retailer, manufacturer, distributor, or other business is at fault for the modification of the COA, all companies involved in the dispute may be held liable and face legal action. Some of the ways in which COAs are often misused include:

  • Connecting an outdated COA to an irrelevant batch number or product
  • Altered information and data
  • Misrepresenting the testing laboratory or altering the source of the test

In the event a company is caught in any of the above illegal actions, the burden of proof will fall to them to demonstrate their innocence. Unfortunately, this is incredibly difficult—and sometimes impossible—to do.

What Do Cannabis Labs Test For?

There are two main purposes for cannabis testing. They are as follows:

  • Compliance data: Ensuring the product meets all standards as set out by the state’s regulatory authority. This can include safety and potency testing.
  • Quality data: Information for labeling, marketing, and safety. This can include potency, strain, and contaminant information.

Because there is no universal standard for cannabis testing, each lab must adhere to the guidelines set out by the state in which it operates. In most cases, labs are certified third-party testing companies that report on compliance to the regulatory authority in their state. Companies doing business with these labs use this data to obtain licenses to sell and distribute their products.

Specifically, cannabis labs perform the following tests:

Potency Analysis

One of the leading reasons consumers cite for their preference for regulated cannabis over illicit markets is the availability of accurate potency and dosage labeling.

This is achieved through a potency analysis, in which labs measure the THC and CBD levels in a batch. Labs can analyze cannabis potency by measuring the presence of cannabinoids per weight, the total amount, or the ratio of THC to CBD. 

This information is then used on product labeling to tell consumers exactly what they are purchasing.

There are strict requirements for this in various states. In fact, the Florida Health Department recently levied fines and penalties against multiple labs for compliance violations relative to misreporting of potency levels, particularly how flower THC potency was labeled on certificates of analysis (COA). 

This is just one example of increasing levels of enforcement action taken by states to ensure safety and transparency for consumers. 

Contamination Screening

Cannabis products can be contaminated by many different sources during the growing and manufacturing processes. 

The plant itself has an inherent ability to absorb heavy metals from the soil. it essentially acts like a sponge soaking up the good, the bad, and the ugly from the soil. In fact, cannabis plants have been used for the remediation of contaminated sites. 

But this ability to soak up toxic metals may also make cannabis dangerous for people who ingest it. The purpose of contamination screening is to determine the safety of the product before it goes to market while also informing the growers and manufacturers of any safety risks in their operations.

Some of the most common contaminants that labs test for include:

  • Pesticides: Chemicals, growth hormones, and pesticides are not safe for human consumption. 
  • Solvents: Concentrates and extracts commonly contain solvents such as xylene, ethanol, and butane.
  • Foreign matter: Dust, dirt, insects, and fecal matter are some of the common contaminants found in cannabis products. 
  • Microbial matter: Contaminants such as E.Coli, Salmonella, mold, and mildew are dangerous when present in products intended for human consumption.
  • Heavy Metals: Lead, mercury, and other metals are sometimes absorbed through soils and substrates.  

Contamination poses a serious health risk to consumers and, as such, it is one of the most important factors that regulators and labs are required to screen for.

Terpene Analysis

Terpenes testing helps companies better understand their product. These tests offer information about the strain and potency of their product and help them provide more accurate data to their buyers and consumers.

What are the Different Types of Cannabis Testing?

There are three main types of cannabis tests. The data the lab is trying to obtain will dictate which type of test is conducted.

The different tests are as follows:

  • Analytical Chromatography: This process is used to determine the presence and potency of compounds in the sample.
  • Mass Spectrometry: This process is used to measure the chemical composition of a sample.
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: This process is used to measure the structure of molecules and chemical compounds in a sample.

How to Find a Reliable Cannabis Testing Lab

Finding a reliable lab report is necessary to ensure the safety and security of your business. Without one, you could face legal consequences, reputational harm, and catastrophic loss in revenue. 

Until recently, it has been impossible to ensure the utmost integrity when it comes to COAs and lab reports. This is because anyone can alter, misuse, or delete a file to suit their needs.

The only way to ensure a lab report has not been modified is to work with a Q-verified lab. Verified labs in Qredible® submit all lab reports directly from the test equipment. Once submitted, each report is immediately blockchain-protected. 

This means:

  • No human has the ability to modify the information at any time
  • All lab reports from Q-verified labs will be completely immutable
  • The information on the report will be identical to what the testing equipment uncovered

In a situation where the burden of proof falls on your company to demonstrate that you did not alter the lab report, Qredible’s documentation will make the process seamless. 

The burden of proof will be on the lab that the data they provided was not altered or misreported. Some labs have used blockchain themselves to store their lab reports; however, Qredible is a third party. This is important when ensuring trust in parties in the supply chain. 

When all parties throughout the supply chain utilize Qredible’s secure Q-Vault, security and authenticity are ensured. This allows us to be the single source of truth and transparency for lab reports. 

Not only does this level of trust and transparency protect business owners, but it also protects consumers and encourages safer commerce for all. 

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today

Honesty Does Pay: How Reliable

Is being honest a good business decision? For some professionals operating in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry, the answer is a resounding “yes.” 

Many reliable cannabis companies do their best to build an authentic foundation of trust with their business partners and consumers. Sadly, that commitment to safe commerce is not shared by everyone in the industry.

Qredible® is here to change all that. Our mission is to flip the script. We’re transforming the industry from a place that rewards corner-cutting and manipulation to one that rewards truth and transparency with one of the most valuable forms of currency available: trust.

Keep reading to learn more about marketing claims in the legalized cannabis industry, and how Qredible is helping responsible businesses widen the gap between themselves and their competition.  

Misleading Messaging and Greenwashing

A lack of trust is not unique to the legalized cannabis industry. For decades, many in the business world have operated on a basic understanding that honesty doesn’t pay. The idea is that being transparent about business practices often leads to negative outcomes instead of an increase in trust and, in turn, revenue. Some have also speculated that it is difficult for the FDA and USDA to monitor everybody, so chances of getting caught are slim!

Take the recent increase in consumer demand for sustainability. While many green businesses are taking their commitments seriously with valid ESG claims, a large number of organizations participate in “greenwashing” by making fraudulent or misleading claims in their messaging. The Truth in Advertising Organization cites many well-known brands that are “greenwashing” and affecting the health of consumers in addition to the environment.   

The result is an oversaturation of ESG claims that makes it increasingly difficult for the best businesses to achieve recognition for their efforts.

How Greenwashing Impacts Consumer Trust

There is an increasing awareness that many consumers don’t trust sustainability claims made by businesses anymore. The presence of greenwashing has eroded their ability to believe product labels and marketing messages. 

Not only does this have a significant impact on the industry as a whole, but it damages the significance of valid and verifiable sustainability commitments, therefore disincentivizing businesses to make and keep them.

After all, why bother investing time and energy into an initiative that won’t make much of a dent in how your consumers perceive you? 

In the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry, many businesses are beginning to feel the same way. Any company can make a quality claim or post a certification icon and—with only a few, if any measures in place to hold them accountable—get away with it, regardless of how compliant they actually are with the requirements for that certification or claims made.

Legalized Cannabis: A Competitive Industry

The U.S. legalized cannabis industry is rapidly evolving in both consumer behavior trends and regulations. As the industry grows and strengthens, so too does the competition between businesses operating in the space.

As legalization increases, federal regulation models from other countries show there will likely be a divide between the businesses that embrace change and those that resist it. That means adapting to regulation and heeding the increasing consumer demand for transparency is a reliable growth and resilience strategy for many businesses.  

What Cannabis Consumers Value

A recent study of purchase drivers for legalized cannabis found that consumers notice a significant disconnect between unregulated brands and products from regulated sources.

Here’s a breakdown of the main purchase drivers for cannabis consumers:

  • Price: Consumers in the study correlated lower prices with illicit products and lower quality, but noted that it was still an important factor for their purchase.
  • Quality: Those surveyed did not share a single definition of what constituted a quality, reliable cannabis product. They struggled to identify which products were high-quality. 
  • Reliable Packaging: Consumers in the study noted the importance of being able to read, understand, and trust the product information on the packaging.
  • Social influence: Recommendations were one of the strongest purchase drivers in this category because they increased consumer trust.
  • Retailer characteristics: The study found that consumers prioritized purchasing from local businesses whenever possible.

When it comes to quality, research supports that consumers have shared notions about what is important to them. Their priorities fell into the following three categories:

  • Whether or not a product met regulatory standards
  • The safety and effectiveness of the product
  • Whether the product was properly cultivated

The study demonstrates the increasing consumer demand for transparency. Customers are aware of the disconnect between product messaging and what can actually be validated and verified. They just don’t have access to the resources required to make those decisions for themselves. 

Until now.

Qredible®: Supporting Transparency in the Legalized Cannabis Industry

Qredible®‘s Q-Trust™ is a platform of premium services and tools that were specifically designed to support businesses operating in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry.  

These tools include:

  • Automated compliance monitoring and proactive audits to identify potential violative language and false claims
  • Reminders about expiry and recertification dates
  • Reputation monitoring and management
  • Validated, immutable documentation including COAs, lab reports, certifications, registrations, and licenses
  • The ability to access curated news and industry-specific research, resources, and analytics

But there’s more to Q-Trust™ than compliance monitoring and reputation management. There is also a range of tools designed to help honest business owners grow their businesses by increasing value, improving their marketing messaging, and establishing a foundation of invaluable trust with their customers.

Let’s break down some of these functionalities.

Integrated Network and Digital Registry of Brands

Customers can search for companies in Q-Trust. Whether a company has registered or not Qredible has thousands of licenses on file that it tracks. In many cases, it will already have information on file about that company. This data comes from a variety of monitored sources such as the FDA, FTC, legal databases, the Better Business Bureau, and more. 

The customer can also visit the brand’s profile and view important information such as:

  • Ingredient information
  • Lab reports
  • Validated and verified certifications
  • License and registration information
  • Brand reputation history
  • Raw material source information


Using blockchain-powered technology, companies can achieve end-to-end visibility in their supply chain with the Q-Vault™. 

One of the important aspects of Q-Vault is secure and immutable lab reports or Certificates of Analysis (COA). Suppliers who work with Q-verified labs will be able to provide verifiable information about the raw materials, ingredients, and contents of their reliable cannabis products.

This lab report is submitted electronically by the lab to Q-Vault, meaning the company cannot modify it in any way. Once it is in the Q-Vault, it is rendered immutable by blockchain-enforced technology and tied to a lot and batch number. 

This level of security allows these businesses to distinguish themselves from the competition. They begin to cultivate a reputation as being completely transparent about the quality of their products. Brands still control the ability to publish these lab reports after they are reviewed and accepted. The only thing they cannot do is modify the report; fraudulently or otherwise!

Suppliers, manufacturers, merchants, retailers, and ancillary businesses all benefit from having access to this information. It provides them with the ability to make accurate claims in their product messaging and differentiate their business from those who are not. 

For consumers, having access to all of this information empowers them to make purchase decisions with confidence. But it does more than improve the shopping experience for consumers, it also allows businesses that make and adhere to quality, ESG, and other commitments to stand out from their competitors. 

Your Customers Will Find Trust in Qredible®

Thanks to Qredible, it does pay to be honest in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry. 

By providing access to a platform that encourages and supports transparency for businesses in all areas of the supply chain, Qredible is fostering a symbiotic community and ecosystem of quality and trust and enabling companies to stand by their brand promises. In Qredible, merchants, distributors, retailers, financial institutions, labs, and consumers can all engage in safe commerce.

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.

Cannabis Consumers: Purchase

Understanding legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp buyer behavior is essential for product development and effective marketing. But this industry is still in its infancy, which means demographic and purchase driver information is limited and sometimes unreliable.

Some studies have shown the fundamental purchase drivers for cannabis products are similar to other types of goods, which is great news for businesses in the industry. There are also promising studies emerging from countries where the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis have been federally legal for several years. 

So, how can those in the U.S. market understand what exactly incentivizes legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp purchase? What distinguishes one brand from another? And what are contemporary buyers prioritizing and demanding from the companies they purchase from?

In this article, we will explore research that demonstrates exciting trends among cannabis customers. Keep reading to discover opportunities to improve communications with consumers. 

Age Demographics of Cannabis Consumers

By a large margin, the majority of American cannabis consumers fall into the Millennial and Gen Z age group.

A recent survey resulted in the following figures:

  • 22% of consumers were 18 – 29
  • 11% of consumers were 30 – 49
  • 12% of consumers were 50 – 64
  • 3% of consumers were 65 +

Surveys have also found the largest demographic of cannabis users were unmarried millennial men, but not by a wide margin. Young adults of varying genders and backgrounds reported using legalized cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes, meaning that the strongest demographic indicator for cannabis use was age.  

Purchase Drivers for Cannabis Consumers

As the legalized cannabis industry is only just emerging, there is limited and unreliable data about purchase drivers for these products. 

In one study of Canadian consumers—conducted after federal legalization and published this year—participants provided information about different purchase drivers and their importance. 

The primary drivers were as follows:

    • Price: Consistent and affordable pricing structure.
    • Quality: Compliance with safety and production regulations, potency, and craftsmanship.
    • Packaging: Label information that conveys details about a consumer’s needs.
    • Social influences: Recommendations or social and cultural beliefs.
    • Retailer characteristics: Availability at a local dispensary and staff knowledge.

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Price

Price is one of the leading factors cannabis consumers cited for their participation in the illicit market. Although consumers do correlate the low prices in the illicit market with a marked decrease in quality, a small number of them still prioritized affordability.

The demographic of users who were most concerned about price were experienced and frequent users, suggesting that there is a largely untapped market of frequent cannabis users continuing to purchase illegal cannabis. 

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Product Quality

While the same study found that there was no shared single definition of a quality cannabis product, there were overlapping elements. These included:

  • Compliance with regulations
  • Accurate labeling for potency, effectiveness, and ingredients
  • Cultivation with high production standards
  • Safety of the product

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Packaging

Surveyed cannabis consumers were also concerned with packaging and labels on the products they chose to purchase. While many felt that the packaging of federally legal cannabis was excessive and not environmentally friendly, they noted the importance of accurate and robust label information.

Some of the key pieces of information they preferred to read on a label included:

  • Warning information
  • Usage instructions
  • Full ingredients
  • Source information
  • Potency
  • Strain information

Overall, there was disagreement about the amount of packaging that should be used, but the survey group was unanimously appreciative of the comprehensive label information.

Cannabis Purchase Drivers: Others

Surveyed cannabis users have reported that they use cannabis as a solution for a variety of wellness-related concerns. An estimated 70% of cannabis consumers use the products to support their sleep health, and 59% consume cannabis to reduce stress and nerves.

The research on whether or not cannabis can support or relieve specific medical conditions or ailments is limited. As such, it is illegal to make medical claims in cannabis product messaging. 

However, regardless of whether or not cannabis has been proven to support these functions, the research suggests that consumers believe it can. As a result, a significant factor driving cannabis purchases involves a consumer’s belief that a product will be effective and include the correct ingredients for solving their problem. 

Cannabis Consumer Priorities and Values

Consumer values, especially among the Millennial and Gen Z demographic, have evolved significantly over the past few years. 

Two of the main shifts in consumer values include:

    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Consumers care more about inclusivity and they are willing to purchase from companies that demonstrate the same value. An estimated two out of three Americans make purchases based on social values.
    • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): Investors, workers, governments, and consumers are all increasing pressure on companies to make and adhere to their ESG commitments. Of those who cite sustainability as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, 70% are willing to pay a significant premium for sustainable products.

Build Trust with Cannabis Consumers in Qredible®

In the digital marketplace, consumers demand more transparency, trustworthiness, and commitment than ever before. If your company is laser-focused on providing that, the last thing you need is competition with deceptive marketing tactics. Are you willing to stand behind your brand commitments? 

False, accidentally fraudulent, or misleading claims diminish the hard work of responsible businesses and disincentivize them from putting forth the effort to engage in safe commerce. 

In Qredible®, companies are rewarded for transparency. They have access to premium resources that build a solid foundation of trust with their audience.

Trust, transparency, and support to protect and grow your business: that’s what you’ll find in Qredible. Want to learn more? Get started today.

Understanding Cannabis Certifications

Improving trust and transparency in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry begins with developing a shared understanding of what certain claims and certifications mean.

According to a recent study, 51% of Americans find claims and certifications to be important when making purchase decisions, yet they struggle to trust the sources of many claims or understand what different certifications mean.

At Qredible®, we’re working to increase trust and transparency in the legalized cannabis, CBD, and hemp industry. As a part of that commitment, we’ve compiled a list of claims and certifications used in cannabis product messaging.

Keep reading to learn more about what can and cannot be said in legalized cannabis product messaging, and to learn about the most common certifying and regulatory bodies in the U.S. medical and legalized cannabis industry.

Health Claims in Legalized Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD Product Messaging

Ultimately, as cannabis is still considered a schedule 1 substance, the claims that businesses are legally allowed to make generally vary by state. 

On the federal level, however, it is illegal to make health claims about legalized cannabis, CBD, or hemp products.

Some common health claims that are not allowed in cannabis marketing include claims that suggest a product can:

  • Cure, lessen, or relieve any physical disease or illness
  • Cure, lessen, or relieve any mental health condition
  • Alleviate pain, physical disease symptoms, or mental health symptoms
  • Prevent mental or physical disease or illness

Common ways companies make health claims include:

  • Labeling a product as “anti-” something (anti-inflammatory, for example)
  • Suggesting usage for specific conditions
  • Naming physical or mental illness in the product labeling or marketing messaging

The reason that legalized cannabis products are not allowed to make medical claims is that the FDA requires all products intended to address disease to be classified as pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs and supplements are subject to the most stringent regulation of any ingestible substance. 

Cannabis, CBD, and hemp are not yet approved by the FDA as drugs. As such, there are no recommended dosages, proper use guidelines, or information about potential side effects and interactions with other FDA-approved substances.

Certifying Bodies for Legalized Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD Products

There are many certifying organizations, regulatory bodies, and compliance enforcement initiatives that serve businesses and consumers in the legalized cannabis industry. Due to their public reputation, many certifications and designations can be used by businesses in marketing messaging to increase trust and establish authority.  

The following list contains some of the most popular certifying and regulatory agencies operating in the industry.


The USDA is a government agency that regulates and manages federal rules surrounding agriculture and natural resources. 

Cannabis growers who meet the USDA standards for organic can apply for a USDA Organic certification that demonstrates their commitment to: 

  • Promoting ecological balance
  • Preserving water quality
  • Fostering resource cycling 
  • Improving soil quality 
  • Improving biodiversity
  • Limiting synthetic materials

In order to determine eligibility, a USDA certifying agent must confirm a business follows all USDA organic regulations. They must also ensure the company is not using prohibited methods or substances at any stage in its production process. 

Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the federal regulatory body for all ingestible substances available for public consumption. Their mission is to protect public health by limiting the risk of contaminants, toxins, and product misuse. 

Currently, the FDA has only approved a limited number of cannabis-derived products. They are as follows: 

  • Epidiolex (cannabidiol)
  • Marinol (dronabinol)
  • Syndros (dronabinol)
  • Cesamet (nabilone)

These products are approved for medical use only and require a prescription from a licensed health practitioner. Presently, there is no federally approved policy for recreational or medical cannabis. 

However, the FDA has recently hired Norman Birenbaum as a senior public health adviser for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As the former head of marijuana programs in Rhode Island and New York, it is expected that more guidance will be forthcoming as Birenbaum will be working with the Center for Regulatory Programs on projects involving cannabis research and marijuana regulation.

U.S. Hemp Authority

The U.S. Hemp Authority is a certifying organization that enforces high production standards, safe commerce practices, and transparency in the legalized cannabis industry.

To obtain a U.S. Hemp Authority Certification, a company must prove compliance with strict regulatory standards. Applicants are required to undergo a third-party audit of their facilities and products.


The National Industrial Hemp Council’s Verify Program focuses on ensuring compliance with testing and labeling standards for cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) products. 

The program was announced in November of 2021. Since then, the council has been developing its own testing standards and labeling protocols. The goal of the Verify Program is to increase consumer trust, ensure transparency, and establish the hemp industry as reliable and trustworthy.

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is a quality designation that can be used in any enterprise of any size, location, or industry. It is used to demonstrate a company’s success in its commitment to providing products that comply with regulatory requirements and consistently satisfy customers.

In order to obtain an ISO 9001 certification, a company must demonstrate:

  • A focus on customer satisfaction
  • Management intention and motivation
  • Responsible processes
  • Commitment to continuous improvement

An ISO 9001 certification represents customer satisfaction and quality products or services. 

State Health Departments

Each state with medical and/or recreational cannabis regulations has a governmental body overseeing the quality control processes. 

Some states have multiple agencies designated to oversee specific areas of the industry, whereas other states place cannabis, CBD, and hemp under the jurisdiction of their state Food and Agriculture Department or Department of Health.

Cannabis Safety and Quality

The Cannabis Safety & Quality (CSQ) Standards provide a framework for companies to demonstrate their commitment to cannabis and cannabis-infused product excellence. The standards were informed by the ISO and the Global Food Safety Initiative

To become certified, companies must prove the following processes adhere to best practices:

  • Growing and cultivation
  • Manufacturing and extraction
  • Food and beverage manufacturing and infusion
  • Cannabis dietary supplement manufacturing

Each of these processes has a different set of requirements.


Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is a certification process conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for ensuring consistency and quality in the manufacturing of cannabis and other products.

Companies that earn GMP certifications must submit to an audit of the following information:

  • Testing of raw materials
  • Testing processes
  • Facilities, equipment, and personnel
  • Confirmation of SOPs
  • Testing of the effectiveness of products

Qredible®: Validating and Verifying Legalized Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp Claims

There are many regulatory and certifying organizations working hard to ensure a safer and more trustworthy industry for everyone. 

While Qredible is not a compliance enforcement initiative or regulatory body, we are proud to support and promote the work that these organizations do by validating and verifying claims, certifications, licenses, registrations, and other documentation.

In doing so, we also support companies that are committed to ensuring the quality, safety, and effectiveness of their products. We do this by distinguishing them from competitors that make claims without putting in the effort to earn or substantiate them. 

Being committed to quality and extending the extra resources to become certified and ensure best practices in safety and quality is extremely important to gain trust. This is why we believe so strongly in validation and verification. 

It simply is not fair, nor is it safe for a company to misrepresent these certifications. Any company that is Q-verified means that all of its badging and certifications have been vetted and verified as true!  

Our mission is to facilitate and foster safer commerce that will result in increased trust in the entire industry.

Qredible is the only digital registry of verified and validated legalized cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands. Want to be in Qredible? Get started today.