Best Practices for Training Cannabis Employees

You survived the application process and now you’re building your facility, hiring staff, and figuring out the best way to train them. Depending on which state you’re in, you may be required to provide a specific number of training hours prior to an employee beginning work, and a specific number of continuing and refresher training hours annually as well. Many states require you to keep a training log of content and completion dates by employee. Massachusetts, for instance, requires licensees to keep training logs for four years and to make them available to the Cannabis Control Commission upon request.

 What’s the best way to train your cannabis employees? Here’s what you need to know.

Figure out state laws, risks, and best practices

Because there are no national standards for training employees who work in the medical and/or adult use cannabis industry, it’s up to you, the owner, operator, compliance director or department head to figure out the state laws, potential compliance risks, and industry best practices to train your employees. Of course, the goal is not to have your employees just become compliant workers, but brand advocates who enthusiastically follow policies and procedures that best serve your company and customers.

Develop, document, and implement a training policy

Training policies can be as simple as adapting regulation language into a policy. Does state law require four hours of training before an employee begins work? Put that in the policy. Does the state require annual refresher training? If so, that goes in there, too. How about documentation? Figure out what the state requires you to document and put that in the training policy, as well as how long you’ll maintain logs and make them available to the regulating authorities. Finally, develop, document and implement a training system that includes the following elements.

Decide who assigns and ensures training is completed

As with all good systems, set up clear expectations about who is responsible for what. Is the HR manager responsible for initial onboarding and training? Is the department manager responsible for ongoing and annual training assignments? Where does the compliance manager fit in? Develop a training responsibility chart that works best for your company; write it down and share with all stakeholders. 

What are training best practices?

Individuals have different learning styles, so ideally you’ll give employees multiple opportunities to absorb information and learn how information translates to actionable items in day-to-day work situations. Assigning written or recorded materials for initial review, following up with a conversation/discussion about the most important take-aways from assignments, and assigning mentors to guide employees as they take on new tasks are all training best practices. 

What’s the follow-up policy?

It’s easy to assign a regulation, reference document or video, policy or SOP to an employee, but who ensures s/he/they actually read and understood how the assignment applies to his/her/their daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities? Ideally, the department manager or a lead employee will touch base after training, evaluate additional training needs, and work with the employee until s/he/they is competent and comfortable taking on new assigned tasks and responsibilities. 

How do you establish and maintain accurate training records?

There are many options to help your organization establish and maintain accurate training records. Software platforms like ProCanna make it easy to assign, track, and document compliant training procedures. With ProCanna, your organization’s trainers can print and send applicable cannabis regulations, documents such as CDC handwashing guidelines, or even a customized report or plan prepared by a hired third-party consultant. Best of all, ProCanna tracks when an employee has completed the training and delivers date and time stamped training reports that can be downloaded, printed, and emailed right from the platform. No matter how you document training, be sure to maintain the log in an easily accessible format that can be shared with internal stakeholders and external regulatory authorities.

Should I outsource my employee training?

As with most decisions, there are pros and cons to outsourcing cannabis employee training. For companies with financial resources, contracting with an organization to train your employees may be a wise investment. There are many cannabis training providers: a quick Google search for “cannabis training” brings up pages of viable alternatives. If you’re inclined to outsource training, take the time to evaluate and vet your options. Are you purchasing a printed book of procedures? An online system? In-person training sessions? Consider testing outsourced training options by committing to one department or certificate program. If you’re pleased with the outcome, you’re ready to establish a longer-term partnership. If you’re not pleased with the outcome, try another company until you find the provider that provides the training that makes the most sense for your company and employees.

In the end, training is an opportunity to create compliant brand ambassadors who will develop positive, long-term relationships with your customers and business partners. 

If you’d like information on how ProCanna can simplify and deliver a training system that will optimize your operations and satisfy state regulatory requirements, visit our landing page or text/call 207-400-9584. We’re your boots-on-the-ground, we-got-your-back training, operations, and compliance team!