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Training for Medical Dispensary Employees: Are You on Par?

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Medical Training for Medical Work?

When you visit the pharmacist with a prescription, you receive the service and medical advice of a pharmacist in regards to your dosage and uses of your prescription medication to alleviate the symptoms of the medical condition to be treated. As you know and are able to witness through the various certificates you see on the walls of the dispensary area, pharmacists go through a ton of education in order to get certain credentials that qualify them to treat you medically.

As an entrepreneur in the medical marijuana industry, consider this: Should the same level of education and training be required for medical marijuana dispensary employees?

A Training Gap Revealed

A study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research took a close examination into the practices surrounding employee training in United States dispensaries to understand the degree to which they had been formally trained. The researchers looked at dispensary employee qualifications as well as how dispensary employees went about their work of recommending certain strains to treat certain medical symptoms.  

The study, “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff” showed that only 55% of dispensary employees had gotten formal training for medical marijuana; while only 20% had specific medical or scientific training. Of all surveyed in this study, 94% of dispensary employees surveyed indicated that they gave specific cannabis advice to their patients in terms of strain.

Does It Matter?

The study noted the concern that there seemed to be a huge gap in the degree to which dispensary employees were trained to do such important and technical medical marijuana work. The study did note that positive anecdotal evidence about customer satisfaction pointed to most employees doing a great job in matching customer needs to particular strains, dosages, and methods of ingestion. Perhaps while it doesn’t show that dispensary users are in any form of danger when they work with a dispensary employee to get their medical marijuana, it may highlight that there could be room for improvement in formal training for employees.

What is Your Employee Training Like?

If you are a dispensary owner, this can be a helpful study for you as an entrepreneur to assess your training programs for your employees. Perhaps it may be useful to ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What are the minimum education credentials I would like my employees to have?
  • What particular degree programs or medical training would be particularly useful for my employees to have?
  • What can I offer to my employees to provide them with opportunities for continuous learning and development in the medical marijuana industry?
  • Are there training programs available that I can implement into my dispensary?

A Call to Action

This study advocates for individual states who have legalized medical marijuana to consider having a formal certification program for providing medical marijuana-related advice. It reminds those working within the legal marijuana industry that with the expansion of activities and products that are being made available in marijuana real estate operations, including products like edibles and different equipment for smoking, employees should be up to date on understanding potencies and the safe and effective use of all cannabis products.

Get Ahead of the Training Game

Dispensaries who get ahead of employee training and recruitment and employee qualified individuals to dispense medical marijuana will be ahead of the game as legalization spreads further across states and the nation. There is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to be leaders in the industry by developing innovative methods for dispensary employee training. Take the time to consider how your dispensary can become one of those leaders by creating an exemplary recruitment and training strategy for dispensary employees.


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