February 12, 2020

What Does Human Resources Do in the Cannabis Industry?

HR
by McKenzie Swisshelm

In Colorado, there are currently over 500 cannabis dispensaries. While Ohio and Oregon follow closely in this statistic, other states are miles behind.

If you live in a state where there aren't many dispensaries, you may be thinking of opening one to get in on this hot market. But what many people fail to understand is that dispensaries are just like any other business—they need an HR department.

Are you wondering: what does human resources do in the cannabis industry? Then read on. In this article, we'll explain all their responsibilities in detail.

 

You Must Have an HR Department

The cannabis industry is a rapidly emerging new market. As more states are legalizing the product, more and more cannabis-related businesses are popping up around the country.

One major mistake that these new businesses are making is being naive about employment law. Many of these new cannabis companies are neglecting the HR aspect of running their business.

If your cannabis business has 5 or more employees, then you need to have a dedicated HR person working for you. Many of these emerging companies are simply having an existing worker handle all the HR functions on the side of their current responsibilities, but this is a recipe for disaster.

 

 

What Could Go Wrong?

One of the biggest mistakes made by up and coming cannabis businesses is posting poorly-worded job advertisements. Without people with real HR experience on staff, many cannabis businesses are inadvertently making highly illegal job postings.

For example, many job listings for cannabis dispensaries request candidates who are young and energetic. What those posting these jobs fail to realize is that explicitly asking for young people is ageism. As a result, they're breaking anti-discrimination laws.

These kinds of mistakes could lead to serious consequences such as a lawsuit, which needs to be avoided at all costs; just one can topple the entire business.

In the cannabis industry, there are pitfalls like this everywhere. Only HR professionals who have dedicated years to studying the field will have the necessary knowledge to catch all of them. What might seem to you like perfectly innocent actions could turn out to be highly illegal.

Greenleaf HR Webinar - Employee Handbooks: What Cannabis Employers Should Know

 

The Law Is Complicated

To put it simply, employment law is a minefield, and you need to put in some serious studying if you want to navigate it without any incidents. Someone handling HR responsibilities on the side simply isn't going to have the knowledge necessary to keep you out of legal trouble.

Even things that might seem simple on the surface (such as paying your employees) may actually be highly convoluted once you start to scratch the surface. For example, did you know that counties within a state have different legal requirements related to paying your employees? Making a mistake here could have significant legal ramifications for you and your company.

Some cannabis businesses try to bypass employment laws by labeling their workers as contractors instead of employees, but this kind of thing could also result in inadvertent illegal acts. Since a legal mistake could potentially ruin your business, you need to make sure you have someone on top of things and knows what they're talking about.

 

 

The Law Is Always Changing

The law isn't static; it changes continuously, and businesses need to adapt to new regulatory requirements or face the wrath of the government. For instance, did you know that many states have drafted new sexual harassment laws? This could mean that your management staff is legally required to undertake sexual harassment training.

Without a dedicated HR staff member, you run the risk of falling behind on understanding your legal responsibilities. HR is a job that requires constant work.

You need to keep up with the latest changes in regulations. If someone is just doing it without any proper training, you run the risk that new regulations may fall through the crack.

 

 

Avoid a Scandal

You might think that hiring a new staff member to take care of HR concerns will cost your company too much money, but you should consider what might happen without that member of staff. A class-action lawsuit against your company is very likely to spell the end, but things don't even have to get that far to potentially ruin your business.

Incidents that happen in your dispensary or grow operation are likely to spread on social media ridiculously quickly. Something could happen in the afternoon and by the evening, thousands of people would know about it.

In the cannabis business, your reputation as an invaluable resource, so you should do everything that you can to safeguard it. Without a professional HR employee, you could fall victim to a Facebook scandal or scathing reviews on sites such as Glassdoor.

An HR professional has the training required to spot these issues before they boil over. It's no exaggeration that hiring someone to take care of HR could literally save your business.

Avoiding a scandal is particularly vital in this line of work, as cannabis is still a controversial subject. Not only do your staff members need to offer fantastic customer service, but they also need to act as ambassadors for the industry.

If an incident blows up online, it not only affects your business, but it could have a detrimental effect on the cannabis industry around the country.

 

 

What Does Human Resources Do? It Saves Your Cannabis Company

So what does human resources do? As you can see, it can literally mean life or death for the lifeline of your cannabis company.

You don't want to cut corners when it comes to HR. You've put so much into your company, and you don't want one small incident to end it all. So make sure you have a proper HR department to ensure your business grows and succeeds.

Greenleaf Hr Webinar - Introduction to Leave of Absences in the Cannabis Industry

Would you like to use an HR company that has experience in the marijuana industry? Then contact us now!

McKenzie Swisshelm

McKenzie Swisshelm is the Marketing Manager for Greenleaf HR and Worklogic HR. She produces effective content like a fifth-year wizard but with a knack for strategic marketing, crafting digital strategy and, of course, Charms. In more wanky marketing muggle jargon, her specialties include setting metrics and reporting systems and then refining all of the above to impact an organization’s core business objectives and drive top line growth.

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