How to Get an ISO-9001 Certification for Legalized Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp

An auditor examines CBD oil during the ISO-9001 certification process for cannabis

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.

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