The Rules of the Office of Cannabis Management in New York, as adopted in September 2023, require dispensary licensees to train their employees in certain topics. They also stipulate how this training is to be conducted and tracked, and who at the licensed organization is responsible for overseeing the company’s training programs.
This blog is intended to be a quick and simple overview of these training requirements. In the text of the regulations itself, this information is scattered across multiple parts and sections.
New York Dispensary Training Requirements
Who needs to be trained?
According to Section 125.5.a, “All managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or persons otherwise performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations.”
When does this training need to occur?
“Within thirty (30) days of starting to perform licensed activities.” (Section 125.5.a)
In addition, according to Section Section 125.5.f.4, all full-time employees must undergo a minimum of four (4) hours per year of ongoing training, “or the equivalent for employees that are less full-time,” on specific topics.
Are there any restrictions on how the training is performed?
Training must be provided at no cost to the recipient. Employee training must be provided during their regular work hours, and employees must be paid their “usual rate of pay” for time spent during training. (Section 125.5.d)
What topics need to be covered during initial training?
New York regulators call this training “Responsible Workforce Training” (Section 125.5.c). Required topics are:
- a Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility course as determined by the Office;
- a Cannabis Workforce Responsibility course as determined by the Office;
- implicit bias training or cultural competency training that lasts at least one (1) hour; and
- at least two (2) hours of other training intended to assist employees in conducting the license’s licensed activities in a manner which protects employee and public safety.
What topics need to be covered during ongoing training?
According to Section 125.2.b.vi,
- occupational health and safety training for all employees in addition to other required training, from a training vendor approved by the Office which shall be in the worker’s dominant language, where possible
- hazard communication training which must include:
- an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by their employer
- the safety data sheet, including, the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information
- preventing workplace violence
- procedures for reporting and addressing workplace violence incidents or concerns
New York Dispensary Training Recordkeeping Requirements
Section 125.5.i.2 requires licensees to keep and make available upon request the following records:
- Trainee name
- Trainee’s first date of performing licensed activities
- The name and description of all trainings satisfactorily completed by the trainee
- Copies of any certificates associated with the trainee’s completion of the Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility course and Cannabis Workplace Responsibility course and a page for signed and dated documentation demonstrating each employee’s attestation of completion of all Responsible Workforce Training modules
Section 123.13.a requires licensees to maintain these records for at least five (5) years from the date of creation.
Who Is Responsible for Dispensary Employee Training in New York?
The employee in charge and the licensee.
The employee in charge is effectively the store manager. State regulations define them as “an individual twenty-one (21) years of age or older at management level designated by a retail dispensary to be responsible to perform or oversee the performance of the tasks in section 123.10 of this Title [Retail Dispensary Operations] and any other tasks required by the retail dispensary.” The employee is charge is required to perform and oversee employee training under section 123.10.2.vii.
Section 125.4.b requires licensees to “use due diligence to ensure that all employees possess the necessary education and training for the duties they will be assigned.”
How Forte Ops Can Help
Forte Ops can help you train your New York dispensary employees and meet state requirements with our comprehensive, compliant, in-person employee training services and online platform.
Our Train + Launch service features five days of in-person employee training by an experienced Cannabis Retail Strategist, covering all required topics. It also includes custom training manuals and other materials and boots-on-the-ground launch-day support.
The Forte Platform is stocked with a complete library of New York-compliant cannabis retail standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other resources that you can use to guide and enhance your training. You can also use it to generate and maintain your employee training records in a format that is easy to share with regulators.
If you are interested in one of these services, please reach out today.