We Took Ontario’s Training Program For Cannabis Store Employees

Published on March 13, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
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Boring. Matter of Fact. Educational.

Those are the first three words that come to mind after taking the CannSell online training program that the Ontario government is requiring all recreational retail cannabis store employees to take and pass before their first day of work.

And if the goal is to provide factual information and give workers a primer about cannabis and its proper, legal sale before they step foot in the door, the program—which was developed by publicly-traded cannabis data company Lift & Co—will likely be successful.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityAfter watching video content spread out over dozens of slides, those taking the training course have two attempts to correctly answer at least 20 out of the 25 questions that form the final exam. After passing, those who pass are given a digital CannSell certificate that you can print and show to your employer or the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

I sought out to find any errors I could in the entire program. I tried, really hard. And In the training, I’m happy to report that I couldn’t find anything that appeared incorrect or that I took issue with. And save for an awfully-worded question in the exam, there weren’t any other glaring issues.

Identifying Impairment

A portion of the training focuses on identifying customers that are impaired. This can be a touchy subject, because many signs of impairment may actually be due to other factors. The course addresses these nuances, for example by saying that what looks like signs of intoxication could actually be an acquired brain injury. There is also a list of secondary signs of intoxication, though the training is clear that on their own those secondary signs may not demonstrate intoxication.

A large part of the training features videos and content from Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, including videos of MADD Canada executives talking about employee responsibilities. As one of the country’s most credible authorities on being safe with intoxicating substances, it makes sense to have MADD Canada be the source of training concerning drugged driving aspects of the course, it does seem a bit odd they were tasked with teaching content outside this purview.

The course is clear that employees of retail cannabis stores should not tell customers how long they should wait before driving. However, a MADD executive member in one of the videos stated that, “for most recreational users we suggest they wait a minimum of four hours,” and that after that, “most recreational users have very low levels of THC in their body.”

I take particular issue with this statement because studies have shown that in regular users of cannabis, a significant number of them may have around 2 nanograms of THC in their blood for up to seven days.

Still, these are minor squabbles, and although I personally didn’t learn anything new about cannabis in the course content, I thought the information in the program was quite accessible and easy to understand.

What the Training Program Doesn’t Cover

You’re not going to become a cannabis connoisseur after the training, but what you will get is a nice overview of a variety of content areas that employees should know.

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The first few slides, about the legal history of cannabis, were probably unnecessary but underscored the tumultuous history of the drug in the country.

Employees later learn about THC, CBD,terpenes, cannabinoids, and their responsibility as cannabis retail employees.

No, you won’t get a step by step instruction over how to pack a bong or roll a jointso CannSell-trained employees might require some additional resources to answer such inquiries from customers.

But the Ontario government played it safe, with a non-controversial, public safety-first training course that should be sufficient for the years to come.

Editor’s note: Lift & Co provided Leafly News with a complimentary access pass to the CannSell training program for the purposes of this article.

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Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.
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