Staff Training Standards Differ Across Canada For Legal Cannabis Retailers

Article by Mike Hager, Globe and Mail

Staff training standards differ across Canada for legal cannabis retailers MIKE HAGER People line up in a cannabis store to buy their first legal marijuana in Winnipeg, Man., on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. JOHN WOODS/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Depending on where it’s being sold, the workers serving up Canadians their legal cannabis could have taken an official training course that lasts more than 20 hours – or none at all.
Across the country, a patchwork of certification programs exists to ensure that retail staff in each province are selling cannabis responsibly and have enough product knowledge to inform customers – a component experts say is key to competing with Canada’s sizable market of illicit dispensaries and online retailers.
In British Columbia, “budtenders” at the one government outlet took an ad-hoc training course developed in-house while employees at the lone private shop recently licensed by the province plan to continue selling much the same way they had the previous three years, when it was an illicit dispensary. B.C. has not yet rolled out a dedicated course for retail staff that is common in most provinces, but says such training is coming “in the near future.”
Most provinces have created online courses and exams akin to what those serving alcohol must complete. However, several have gone further to include in-person classes.
Quebec, for example, requires anyone wanting a job at one of the dozen government cannabis outlets to complete a course with more than 20 hours of studying. The course, created in conjunction with the provincial health ministry, educates staff on the variety of legal products and their possible effects as well as how to consume the drug responsibly, according to an SAQ spokesperson. The course culminates in a day of classroom training and then a final exam.

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