background check cannabis employees

All licensees must conduct background checks for their cannabis employees.

According to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA)’s Administrative Rules, all licensees must onboard, screen, and train their employees.

Non-compliance with this requirement results in significant penalties, including the potential loss of your license.

As such, it’s critically important for all licensees, especially those new in the industry, to properly screen your employees.

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Who Can Work at a Cannabis Facility?

As stated above, all facilities must conduct criminal history background checks on any prospective cannabis employee.

Additionally, this must be done before officially hiring the individual.

As a business owner, you’re required to keep a copy of the criminal history background check results.

You must keep it on file for the duration of that person’s employment.

It’s also important to note that you can’t hire anyone under the age of twenty-one (21) at your cannabis facility.

Additionally, no-one under the age of twenty-one (21) can volunteer at your facility. 

How to Conduct Background Checks for Cannabis Employees

If the MRA requests an applicant’s criminal history background check, it must be made available to them.

That’s why you need to be aware of your obligation(s) regarding employee criminal history background checks; namely,

  • the requirement to conduct one prior to officially hiring a prospective employee, and
  • the requirement to maintain the records of such background checks for the duration of the individual’s employment with the facility and to make the records available to the MRA upon their request. 

Ultimately, the facility can’t ever hire an individual that’s convicted of any offense involving distribution of a controlled substance to a minor.

Any such hire directly violates Administrative Rule R. 420.602(2)(k).

Additionally, the facility must screen prospective cannabis employees against a list of excluded employees maintained by the MRA.  

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How to Report New Hires to the MRA

Licensed cannabis businesses must enter into all new hires’ information into the statewide monitoring system (METRC).

Therefore, you must submit this seven (7) business days from the date of hire. 

This allows METRC to assign an identification number to the newly hired employee. 

If there’s a change in status or level of access when screening the cannabis employee, then you must update METRC within seven (7) business days.

When an employee’s ends, either by termination or resignation, then the business is required to remove the former-employee’s access to METRC within seven (7) business days after their last day of employment.

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How to Coordinate Ongoing Employee Training

Lastly, all cannabis licensees must train all employees.

To do so, they’re required to prepare an employee training manual.

Therefore, this training manual must cover and address topics such as:

  • employee safety procedures
  • employee guidelines
  • security protocols
  • educational training related to product information
  • purchase limits

The licensee must keep both physical and digital copies, so that the MRA can review it upon request.

Additionally, you must include a responsible operations plan in the employee training manual. 

This responsible operations plan must include a detailed explanation of the following:

  • how employees will monitor and prevent over-intoxication
  • underage access to the facility
  • the illegal sale or distribution of product
  • how to handle potential criminal activity on the facility’s grounds

Therefore, you must provide copies of both documents to to all employees.

In addition to this, each licensee must also requires employee to report any new or pending criminal charges or convictions.

This requires you to continuously screen your cannabis employees.

Furthermore, if an employee is charged with a controlled substance-related felony (or any other felony), you must immediately report the charge or conviction to the MRA.  

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Need to Implement Internal Policies For Your Cannabis Business? 

Failure to strictly adhere to these compliance requirements will result in massive fines and other penalties by the MRA and municipality you operate in.

Additionally, your license and future success as a cannabis business is also jeopardized.

As such, following the MRA’s strict hiring and on-boarding practices is extremely important.

This, among many other reasons, is why you need an experienced and proven cannabis attorney.

Need help getting into the cannabis business? Interested in growing your company? Request a consultation now.