Cannabis Industry Training Optimization Strategy

Determine Training Needs. Choose Course Topics. Create Learning Plans. Ensure Industry Compliance. Reduce Risk. Increase Profitability. Annual Re-Training Plan.

Cannabis Training Optimization White Paper

We Begin the Optimization Process by Getting CLEAR on the Most Important Assets in Your Business: Your Team. At Its Core, Business is Pretty Simple & We Move These Teams to a Desirable “After” State.

How To Create An Unstoppable Strategy

You’ve finally found it… the “treasure map” to building an unstoppable career or business in the cannabis industry. We call it the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy.” If you’re not familiar with how we do things here at Green CulturED (or “GC” as we say), this is the first thing you should read. It TEACHES you the foundational principles of specific training strategies that are required in the cannabis industry.

And even if you’re a salty GC veteran, you will want to re-read this from time to time as a refresher. It’s that important. What you’re about to get in this strategy is a 10,000-foot view of how cannabis industry training works when it’s done right. This is vital to understand because all professionals and businesses are at various levels of STUCK. There’s so much to learn – “the only constant is change” (as Greek philosopher Heraclitus says) – that no one can keep up with every little shift in the industry.

But when you understand the big-picture view… when you can see how all the different pieces are meant to work together. You’ll know a STRATEGY that works efficiently and repeatedly to train workers, convert them into the “smartest cannabis expert” in the room, and get the maximum profit working in the industry. Sound like something you’d like to have? Then let’s get right into it.

Our Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy

This is the strategy Starbucks used to create its “Barista Basics Training Program” and McDonald’s successful “Hamburger University” for franchise-owners. It’s the SAME strategy that Amazon uses for employee development to dominate eCommerce.

It’s how Best Buy trains their “Geek-Squads,” Beachbody (selling training workouts like P90X), and articles published by High Times Magazine have all become household names around the world. An optimization strategy works for novices, professionals, and enterprise-level businesses. It WORKS for “mom-and-pop” shops and billion-dollar publicly traded cannabis companies. It works whether workers are “touching the plant” for their job role, manufacturing cannabis products, or providing ancillary services.

This strategy works because it exploits each and every aspect of the irrefutable laws of pedagogy (the study of how knowledge and skills are imparted in education)… adopted by academia that will SHAPE learner’s actions, judgments, and development strategies.

By taking into consideration the theories of learning, understanding learners’ needs, and the backgrounds and interests of individuals… this DICTATES how we train. There are three (3) areas required in your business to be successful in the industry…

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. The approach you’re about to learn – we call it “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” – leverages all three (3) professional development areas needed in the cannabis economy. That’s what makes it so very POWERFUL. So read this strategy carefully and completely. Read it multiple times and commit it to memory. This is the stuff the world’s best industry professionals and businesses know and use daily – but you will find that this isn’t taught in any “school.”

Cannabis Worker Avatar Strategy

This handy worksheet outlines our “Worker Avatar” strategy (download a PDF version of the chart here). Print this PDF and tack it to the wall next to your workstation. If you intend to execute this plan, you’ll need to reference it often. This is your big-picture “treasure map” to building an UNSTOPPABLE cannabis industry training strategy.

Anytime you’re learning new topics or even required compliance training – whether it’s new trends, government regulations, latest scientific research, and so on – you’ll want to check in to see which part of the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” that topic FITS into. Otherwise, you’re liable to end up wasting your time and money… even getting fined or shut down by regulators for non-compliance in the cannabis industry.

But, take this as your WARNING:

There is little profit in understanding, for example, required government compliance training, dispensary skills, workplace safety or cannabis cultivation in and of itself… all of these individual aspects like those only represent just one very SMALL piece of the whole cannabis industry.

But there is an enormous PROFIT in understanding how to apply these strategies within the context of the cannabis training optimization process. Here is a flowchart of the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” that we put together to make this simple:

When you break it down, there are a TOTAL of seven (7) steps to “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” you’ll find here:

Lean into this strategy and pay close attention – we’re about to reveal the EXACT process we use to train our internal team and cannabis industry partners in multiple niche markets and even other verticals around the world you’ll find including…

  • Retail Dispensary Workers
  • Cannabis Cultivation Experts
  • Industry Product Manufacturers
  • Occupational Safety Regulators
  • Ancillary Service Providers
  • Licensed Medical Professionals

Step 1: Determine Cannabis Industry Training Needs

We begin the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” by getting clear on the most important thing for the cannabis industry: Industry Workers. A training needs analysis helps identify the skills that most IMPACT a company’s mission, skill gaps in the industry workers, current programs that are working and new ones that are needed.

Business leaders understand that learning, professional development, and training programs are critical to the future success of their companies. But which training topics that are needed is LESS clear. For example, according to McKinsey & Company’s “Building Capabilities for Performance Report,” 49% of executives ranked increasing their organizational capabilities as one of their important strategic goals, but…

  • Almost half (48%) said these efforts were hindered by a lack of a clear vision by their management team
  • And 36% said they lacked credible training metrics
  • Only 13% calculate the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of professional development & learning investments
  • The most cited measurement is manager feedback

At its core, the cannabis industry is pretty simple. We get paid to grow, processor manufacture and sell cannabis-related products and services, but we need to move these industry workers from an undesirable “Before” state to a desirable “After” state. In the “Before” state, the cannabis industry worker is DISCONTENT in some way. They might be in pain, frightened, or unhappy for any number of reasons. The “After” state, life is better. They are free of pain, entertained even unafraid of what previously plagued them.

People don’t buy training products or services… they buy transformations, AKA outcomes, AKA a more desirable “After” state. This means that good training will deliver the “After” state the person wants… and good development will transform them from “Before” to the “After” state. The flip side is also true: when a worker is new to the cannabis industry fails, it’s often because of the following…

  • They FAILED to receive the proper training that they needed in the first place (the training was no good at all).
  • There is NO continuing professional development – the cannabis industry is always changing – to ensure they are always moving from a “Before” to “After” state (the cannabis industry training optimization strategy was no good).

Needless to say, getting CLEAR on the desired outcome that your training delivers is fundamental to the success of the business.

The 10-Question “Before & After” Grid

Here’s how to get that clarity… before you start training or professional development initiatives, ASK yourself these questions:

  • What does the worker HAVE in the “Before” state?
  • What does the worker HAVE in the “After” state?
  • How does the worker FEEL in the “Before” state?
  • How does the worker FEEL in the “After” state?
  • What is an AVERAGE DAY like in the “Before” state?
  • What is an AVERAGE DAY like for the worker “After” state?
  • What is your worker’s STATUS in the “Before” state?
  • What is your worker’s STATUS in the “After” state?
  • What is an EVIL that is plaguing in the “Before” state?
  • How do you bring more GOOD in the “After” state?

You will want to just PUT your answers to these questions into a simple “Before and After Grid Worksheet”:

Let’s look at one of the cannabis industry’s most popular workplaces… workers in a retail dispensary, how do we help these workers achieve a positive transformation in their lives? For this example, let’s specifically look at the Dispensary Technician (aka “Budtender”) as a general “Worker Avatar.” What is a “Worker Avatar” you ask… well, who is your ideal employee? An avatar is a term that refers to the description of a person who represents your most ideal worker (aka ROCKSTAR) that you want to have employed.

Members of the Dispensary Technician team are the “front-line faces” of the industry, and most of the time, the first person anyone will interact with during the retail experience. This can be stressful when dealing with first-time customers (who have never been to a dispensary before). Dispensary owners are always in need of top talent for that! We know from experience that Dispensary Technicians or these “Worker Avatars” will run into A LOT of problems… so let’s help alleviate all of those persisting problems.

They encounter undesirable “Before” states. So, you’ll need to create training that can help solve all of those problems and DELIVER the “After” states these workers want (and need). How do we accomplish it? By transforming your “Worker Avatar” completely…

  • From HAVING a disorganized job role… to working with a team in your cannabis business that’s a well-oiled machine.
  • From FEELING frustrated, overwhelmed, and scared of losing their job… to feeling confident and in control when working.
  • From having an AVERAGE DAY in which they have to “coach up” under-performing dispensary team members… to an average day in which they’re free to focus on big-picture strategy because they can trust others to take care of the details.
  • From a STATUS of being disrespected and behind the times… to a status of being respected and even up for a promotion.
  • From the EVIL of being a victim of an old-school university model that doesn’t prepare graduates for the realities of today’s cannabis industry… to the GOOD of helping to train the future team leaders that will help run your cannabis business.

This handy worksheet outlines our “Before-and-After” Grid (download a PDF version of the worksheet here). Average Dispensary Technicians will only articulate what a customer will have if they purchase their cannabis product or service. Great Dispensary Technicians speak to the transformations they’ll have from cannabis – from how the customer will feel, how their average day will change, their status will elevate, and how they will solve an EVIL in the world (making them a real-life hero in your business).

With this simple 10-question “Before & After” Grid, any half-decent dispensary operator will be able to create a “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” that will have an IMPACT. Any “Worker Avatar” writes itself once you are clear about “Before” and “After”…

  • “Turn your disorganized dispensary team members into a well-oiled machine that’s ready to LICK some serious butt.”
  • “Tired of “coaching up” your team day after day? With us, you’ll be free to step back and FOCUS on big-picture strategy.”
  • “Just imagine these “Worker Avatars” FEELING confident and respected in meetings, knowing their promotion is coming.”

Do you see how this strategy clearly articulates how the “Worker Avatar” training will move a Dispensary Technician from a “Before” state of stress and frustration to an “After” state of confidence and success? It’s powerful stuff. Make sure to complete the “Before & After” Grid for all of your “Worker Avatars,” because each person working in different dispensary positions (receptionists, cannabis cultivators, owners/managers, etc.) will go through their own transformations… understanding how you will transform “Worker Avatars” from a “Before” state to a desired “After” state also impacts the VALUE they have and will create in your cannabis business.

How Much Can You Change?

What is the distance between the “Before” and desired “After” state? That distance is called VALUE. A stick of bubble-gum does not have much value, in part, because it covers a very short distance – from a “bad taste in your mouth” to a “good taste in your mouth.” By comparison, a car covers a much greater distance: from “stuck at home” or possibly “forced to take a crowded bus to work” to be “free to travel wherever you want in privacy and comfort.” The car provides much more value, and accordingly, it’s also a lot more profitable to sell cars than bubble-gum… just like the difference between selling cannabis flower vs creating your own products.

Do you want to have more value or profit from working in the cannabis industry? If so, the solution is simple: create more distance (VALUE) between the “Before” and desired “After” state by implementing one of the following options that you have available:

  • Create BETTER cannabis industry training or professional development programs and opportunities (intrinsic value).
  • Train “Worker Avatars” to be able to articulate the “Before” to “After” to customers more CLEARLY (more profitability).

When rolling out new dispensary products, starting new training, or moving into a new industry segment – make sure to get clear on your workers’ “Before” and “After” states. And as we said, make sure to do it for EACH of your “Worker Avatars.” If you’re not able to clearly articulate how workers can move from the “Before” state to a desired “After” state… you most likely have an issue with training and professional development. Being specific about what training may be the single most important part of the strategy.

Simply, because every other part of the strategy is dependent upon having the necessary training (ex. required government compliance, etc.) for workers so a PROFIT can be made. Once you have a group of “Worker Avatars” identified, the next step is to look for a way to find the course topics and bring them together holistically to ensure that those workers succeed in your business.

Step 2: Choose Course Topics

Now that you’ve compiled all your professional development requirements from your “Worker Avatar,” your next step is to figure out what course topics to train on… that will OPTIMIZE them to succeed. Plus, it’s an ongoing challenge to keep everything up-to-date, from updating courses due to government regulation changes to updating course topics that incorporate the latest research studies.

Creating learning content is one of the most time-consuming and painstaking tasks for any professional Instructional Design (or ID) team. The work NEVER ends! This is where specific course topics and future or new ones are crowdsourced in our Platform Roadmap come into play. Why try to come up with training ideas and do it all yourself? There’s an easier, more effective way to implement this.

We’ve often said that in this day and age, NOBODY has a learning problem (ask Google a good question, and you’ll get a good answer). But sometimes you don’t even know what question to ask (or what training is needed)… now that’s a problem! You might have an employee on-boarding problem, missing specific course topics, or a lack of dispensary manager training. But training is not your problem. Want to know why? Because you can always pay for more training. When it comes to creating professional development for your “Worker Avatar,” there are really only two (2) options where you can pay to get the training that you need:

  1. Create Custom Training via Instructional Design Professionals (typically done “in-house” by the Human Resources team).
  2. Buy “Off-the-Shelf” Training That’s Available Online (courseware developers & other 3rd-party training providers).

In order to have the “best of both worlds” we’ve found that it is essential to have “off-the-shelf” courses to start training “Worker Avatars” immediately… yet, you still need new custom eLearning solutions to meet the continuous changes in the industry. That’s why we provide our Platform Roadmap (at NO COST to our members) since many times a specific training is needed, but that topic is not available… so that’s what our Platform Roadmap does, it essentially “crowd-sources” new training topics from our community.

Their ideas lead to our continuous innovation, and our community governs us when we decide what courses we need to create next. This is how our Instructional Design (or ID) team is LITERALLY told by our community what course to create next via our Platform Roadmap… this supports our platform’s direction and drives innovation. It is an evolving aspect of our platform that is “driven” by our members who are searching, adding, and voting on training topics that they need to succeed professionally in the cannabis industry.

What’s Instructional Design, You Ask?

It is the creation of online learning experiences and multimedia content in a manner that results in the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. Our Instructional Design (ID) team creates new courses based on the Platform Roadmap and we always love to publish new topics (from the most-voted ones, of course) so we have MORE to offer our cannabis community each and every month.

But where does the ID team “get” the knowledge they need to publish? Our ID team works “hand-in-hand” with Subject Matter Experts (or SME’s) who have partnered with Green CulturED and possess special cannabis knowledge or industry skills that our team utilizes when developing materials (training, an examination, a manual, etc.). Remember training is NOT your problem… you can always pay for more training, right? When you look at it that way, the question of ID comes down to quality and, the time and cost it takes for our SME’s to publish their knowledge into online training, you need to understand two (2) things about the ID process:

  1. How to measure the QUALITY of the training (all our SME’s possess advanced degrees and cannabis industry experience)?
  2. What is the exact TIME and COST for our ID team to publish their knowledge ($10,000 average cost for 1-hour of training time)?

When you start training “Worker Avatars,” you won’t make a huge profit right away, but that’s not the point. The profits will come later IF you use the “Cannabis Training Optimization” strategy and implement it completely across your cannabis business.

Step 3: Create Learning Plans

Learning Plans will comprehensively train industry workers and ensure your “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” has a holistic approach… that will be easily updated to meet industry changes (ex. government regulations, etc.). A Learning Plan is a defined strategy for how you intend to achieve your desired outcomes from “Worker Avatars” to become ROCKSTARS. The plan can be very helpful in showing clarity and progress in your training. It can also ensure that your learning activities and resources will be extremely optimized and orderly. But first, let’s talk about Learning Plans and how they can create competencies for your team in their job roles.

A Learning Plan is an irresistible way to train by giving specific chunks of knowledge that is valuable for a “Worker Avatar” to apply in their position when working in the cannabis industry. Make no mistake, although no money changes hands when a cannabis industry worker starts to talk with a customer, this is an exchange of VALUE. It is often the very first transaction you will have with each customer… where you have the opportunity to communicate with customers differently or more clearly that makes an impression.

In order for your Learning Plan to be effective, you need to provide tremendous value with it. Learning Plans usually offer a WIDE variety of training topics that are needed to become a professional, where you optimize those “Worker Avatars” to convert even newbies into ROCKSTARS. Your Learning Plans don’t need to be fancy to be effective. Here is an example cannabis industry case study looking at the key steps our Instructional Design (ID) team did to create a custom eLearning solution that we implemented.

Case Study

Objective: New Hire Learning Plan

To provide a comprehensive and efficient Learning Plan for new hires who require basic knowledge of cannabis, its effects, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), and regulator’s compliance requirements.

Problem: Professional Development

A rapidly changing legal landscape resulted in immense growth in the cannabis industry and created an education and skills gap for new hires working in a dispensary. Green CulturED was engaged to design and create a Learning Plan to train front line customer service staff in a retail dispensary. Our Instructional Design (ID) team determined there was a large demand from our partners to develop a custom Learning Plan, and our ID team completed the project by working with our team of Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) to execute the training and deliver the project within a very strict time frame.

eLearning Solution: Custom Learning Plan

The Learning Plan was developed by our ID team and included four (4) different courses topics for a cannabis dispensary new hire training that was going to be required in the business onboarding:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Store Operations
  3. Product Knowledge
  4. Cannabis Effects

Project Feedback: Competent Staff

“Green CulturED was a lifesaver. They stepped in at the last minute when it seemed as though we weren’t going to be able to execute our dispensary onboard training on time. The ID team provided great guidance and offered “out-of-the-box” along with custom eLearning solutions that not only delivered our project on time but provided us with the professional development that we are very proud of. Their expertise, professionalism and general industry know-how was a breath of fresh air.”

For example, let’s pretend that the Learning Plan we developed for new hires to receive at the cannabis dispensary, they got $10 in additional profit from every customer that came to a dispensary. Would you be able to get more profit from training? Heck yes, you would! You could pay up to $10 per customer in additional training or professional development and STILL break even. In fact, you’ll be able to pay MORE than $10 for training for these new hires when you truly understand the whole “Training Optimization Strategy” – because you’ll be able to extract more profit from those customers later on when they come back as repeat business.

This is why our training optimization strategy is so powerful. Because it allows you to earn more PROFIT per customer… which means you can spend more money on professional development. We’ve often said: “Whoever spends the most money on training acquires more customers… and wins.” The irrefutable law of growth by Jay Abraham states there are three (3) ways to grow your revenue:

  1. Increase the number of your customers…
  2. Increase the average transaction value per customer…
  3. Increase the number of transactions per customer…

Now THAT is a killer “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” – one that sets you up for long-term profits and steady professional development growth. And this is also why training is worthless if you don’t understand the entire strategy. You can train until you’re blue in the face… but unless you know how to set up a training optimization strategy that wrings the maximum profit from your “Worker Avatars,” you’ll continue to be frustrated when it comes to trying to optimize training to increase your profitability.

That’s because of the goal of revenue generation – no matter which Learning Plan(s) implemented, it isn’t to generate an immediate profit – it’s to drive industry workers into a strategy so they’re able to continuously do so. Whatever you do, don’t hop around from one training topic to the next, looking for some kind of “magic pill” that will instantly make your business profitable. Instead, become a MASTER of a single training topic to ensure you have well-rounded Learning Plan(s) and use our Platform Roadmap so if you need training that doesn’t exist, it gets created… stay focused on a specific Learning Plan and, once mastered, add a second and third plan, etc… these Learning Plans can be hyper-focused to include “micro-learning” training on topics such as the following ones here…

  • Compliance Training
  • Retail Dispensary
  • Industry Certifications
  • Cannabis Cultivation
  • Soft Skills Knowledge
  • Occupational Health
  • Workplace Safety
  • Product Handling

And so on… the purpose of your Learning Plans is to generate a “base-line” level of knowledge throughout the retail cannabis dispensary workplace… so, you know that all “Worker Avatars” have been trained on the same “baseline” level of knowledge to CREATE consistency when they sell cannabis products and/or services to clients… that’s why Learning Plans are at the very top of the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy”… by increasing your employee development, it will pay dividends throughout the strategy.

But not all Learning Plans are created equal. The best learning plans will competently train and convert 100% of industry workers to an “After” state so they’re effective and successful. How do you ACHIEVE such a high conversion rate for industry workers to be in their happy “After” state? The key is to make sure your industry Learning Plans are specific to the “Worker Avatar” requirements.

Effective “Micro-Learning” Training

What is “micro-learning,” what it isn’t, and why you need it… what irresistible “golden nugget” of knowledge could you offer industry workers in their Learning Plans that moves them to the “After” state? “Micro-learning” is more ENGAGING, less time-consuming, and an innovative approach to optimize any type of cannabis training.

It’s a surprisingly effective one for any type of training… while there’s no official “micro-learning” definition, all micro-learning based training shares one key characteristic in our “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy:” conciseness in our Learning Plans. The good news is that you DO NOT need to create something lengthy or complex. In fact, we’ve found that the more laser-focused the topics are in your Learning Plans is… the better it will convert “Worker Avatars” into true cannabis industry professionals.

Micro-learning delivers short bursts of content for industry workers to complete their Learning Plans and can easily train at their convenience (ex. “down-time” while working, etc.). With our busy schedules and short attention spans, micro-learning is a near-PERFECT training model. It can be used for all kinds of training… let’s use the case study above as a classic example of how micro-learning was used to create a Learning Plan, take a look again at the four (4) micro-learning training topics that were included…

Training Topics

1. Customer Service

2. Store Operations

3. Product Knowledge

4. Cannabis Effects

This, for example, is a good start for a very basic Learning Plan for any “Worker Avatars” to complete who are working in a retail dispensary since they need to know the “basics”… cut there is no wide range of categories in this Learning Plan from our case study, much less specific ones too… so how can they become a ROCKSTAR? Let’s get more specific… and look at a Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar” to see what additional topics they should have too (not just the “New Hires” Learning Plan in our case study):

Training Categories

  • Retail Dispensary
  • Government Compliance
  • Industry Certifications
  • Cannabis Cultivation
  • Soft Skills Knowledge
  • Occupational Health
  • Workplace Safety
  • Good Manufacturing

But these training categories cannot be too generalized since they will NOT make the Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar” much better at the end of the day. There is training, but it isn’t specific enough if you just offered a few micro-learning courses per topic in their Learning Plan… providing a nondescript “generalized training” is not going to move the Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar” to action. They want to solve the problem that they currently have. They want a positive outcome to happen as soon as possible.

(Hint: Any single course topic or even a few pieces of training that begin with “introduction” or “new hire” is probably not even a good, comprehensive education to create a ROCKSTAR. Just sayin’.) Contrast the prior Learning Plans we outlined above – “New Hires” (from our case study above) – with the specific topics that are addressed in this Dispensary Technician Learning Plan… let’s take our Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar” and “nail down” even further and in more detail what is needed in their Learning Plan to be successful in their job role, let’s get specific about the training topics (or categories) needed by only looking at the following aspects…

Retail Dispensary Category

By expanding the micro-learning topics specifically for the Retail Dispensary “Worker Avatar” basically promises to QUICKLY take your training program from “Meh” to “Magnificent” – fast. This Learning Plan is a specific promise that appeals to exactly what our Dispensary Technician “Worker Avatar” is looking for… now we tend to offer a lot of digital resources – PDF documents, training videos, quizzes, etc… sort of things that are specific for different “Worker Avatars.” But your topics could be all sorts of things. If you’re a cannabis brand like Snoop Dog’s “Leafs by Snoop,” your Learning Plan might be mainly for cultivation experts, they need:

No matter what industry you’re in, the take-home message is the same: make sure your Learning Plan(s) solves the specific problems for “Worker Avatars” in the cannabis industry. When you do that, and you’ll GENERATE more high-quality “Worker Avatars” (aka “cannabis experts”)… most of them will then continue on to take the next steps in your “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy.”

Step 4: Ensure Cannabis Industry Compliance

Now you have a training strategy that will create a cannabis expert (aka ROCKSTAR) and help build the revenue for a cannabis business. In this next step and a requirement in most countries, you will need to create a specific Learning Plan to address compliance training that’s required by regulations. Cannabis industry compliance is often confusing and always complex… but, we have supported developing regulatory training in many ways so that brings us to the next step called “Ensure Industry Compliance:”

The cannabis economy is one of the few industries where one mistake from a front-end Dispensary Technician could SHUT DOWN the entire company. Running a cannabis business can be incredibly stressful, especially when every worker is held to such a high standard for government regulatory compliance. Whether our clients are starting a cannabis business, are unsure of risky pitfalls, or need mitigating legal vulnerabilities, we make the difference to ensure workers are actually compliant all of the time when working.

That’s correct – you are not in the business of selling cannabis. You are in the business of “being in compliance” and if you do that right, then we’re lucky enough to sell cannabis. The next step in the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” is to make sure you’re meeting EXISTING and new regulatory compliance training requirements. To do that, you need to be aware of the cannabis industry legislation that is always changing at a rapid pace. What’s more, a lot of industry workers are not properly trained, and they do the minimum amount of compliance training that’s required just to get by… most governments do require specific compliance training or at the very least incentivize businesses to do so, and Green CulturED makes the whole process much easier and more efficient.

When you understand the rest of the “Cannabis Industry Optimization Strategy,” you will understand that being “over-compliant” is the single most POWERFUL addition you can have in a cannabis business – even though you make no direct profit from it. Heck, the United States is full of state compliance training that is required to work in the industry. Using Colorado as a “template” for other countries will help to establish their cannabis-laws and similar regulatory training requirements for “best practices” when it comes to their local economy… government regulations and compliance training are in every corner of the industry and always will be…

Government Compliance Training Examples

As more cannabis industry compliance training is becoming required… this is actually legitimizing our industry, and it is really magical to think governments are recognizing cannabis as a legal industry. A classic example of regulatory compliance comes from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (or MED) “Responsible Vendors” program to establish worker “best practices” when it comes to the cannabis industry…

Colorado made history in 2015 when the MED created the first-ever compliance training in existence for the world’s cannabis industry – the “Responsible Vendors” program – EXPECTED to be completed by all workers in the jurisdiction. The “Responsible Vendors” Program was developed to assist medical cannabis centers and retail cannabis stores to provide the appropriate public health and compliance training.

Centers and stores that have successfully completed and maintained responsible vendor training are designated as “Responsible Vendors” by the program provider… the Colorado MED government regulators understood that implementing required industry training would help ENSURE compliance for businesses operating in the cannabis industry is really the “name of the game.” And now, for example, other government regulators around the world are following the “best practices” established in the state of Colorado…

  • Alaska’s “Marijuana Handler Permit”
  • Illinois’ “Responsible Vendor”
  • Washington’s “Medical Marijuana Consultant”
  • Massachusetts’ “Responsible Vendor”
  • Arkansas’ “Dispensary Agent”
  • West Virginia’s “Industry Education”

And many others… there are many other types of compliance training being required by the government and new ones are being demanded by newly legal jurisdictions every year… but one thing nice is that all of these training require VERY similar topics, such as:

  • Government laws and regulations
  • How to identify cannabis impairment
  • Cannabis industry worker and workplace safety
  • How to determine valid identification
  • Effects of consumption of cannabis and products
  • How to prevent unlawful cannabis consumption
  • Penalty for an unlawful act in a cannabis business
  • Industry Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP)

And the most common way to make compliance training irresistible is by providing it to “Worker Avatars” as part of their onboarding. In most cases, it is an expense for the cannabis business (but an industry REQUIREMENT). The strategy behind “Ensure Industry Compliance” is simple… ensure the required compliance training is completed by “Worker Avatars”  so they are able to work, even at the expense of profit, with the understanding that being “overly compliant” will deliver revenue through the next three (3) steps:

  1. Reduce Workplace Risks
  2. Increase Operational Profitability
  3. Annual Re-Training Plan

Step 5: Reduce Workplace Risks

Now that you have a bunch of workers who are compliant and working with you, the next step in the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” is to make sure all these workers work together in harmony. It is CORE to cannabis workplace operations to make sure it has safe and healthy working conditions… this can be achieved by setting and enforcing standards through training, outreach, education, and assistance.

Within the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) uses the term “General Industry” to refer to all industries within the country’s economy (outside of construction work and maritime operations). The majority of cannabis businesses fall within the “General Industry,” so they will always REQUIRE additional government compliance training to reduce your workplace’s risks…

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

And this will be the same in almost every other country too… OSHA also has standards that cover agricultural operations, solutions to common agricultural hazards, and other industry resources to HELP create and maintain those safe and healthy work environments.

The goal for workers and workplaces that are in the “General Industry,” is to provide compliance training and to fundamentally ensure they and consumers are SAFE and protected from any hazards or from having any type of legal issues from business operations. Safety compliance training helps make fantastic cannabis industry workers… so do other non-cannabis training topics that are more generalized but are required, like occupational health regulations… in addition to the cannabis-specific regulatory training that’s required, there are always more “General Industry” requirements so you need to ensure you’re “in-compliance” for this reason:

To prevent the government from shutting down a business DUE to “safety issues” for industry workers.

Compare that strategy to what most companies do – which is trying to make a living from only meeting the minimum workplace safety compliance training requirements (or none for some). But you? You won’t make a dime from your worker and workplace safety, but you will INCREASE margins by reducing costs from workers’ compensation, staff loss, etc… that impacts profitability… as Amazon’s original Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder, Jeff Bezos says, “your competitor’s margin is your opportunity.”

It is your opportunity to make better margins by spending more on workplace safety and occupational health which will reduce the overall costs and will result in better margins. Again, this is how you become unstoppable. You build a strategy in which you can spend more to train industry workers on how to work more safely than your competitors, so you’ll have better margins. That means you’ll be able to maintain your dispensary teams’ health while generating more profits in the long run through those FAT revenue margins.

Worker & Workplace Government Compliance

Many “General Industry” workplaces require compliance training enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States… (we’re Authorized Occupational Safety and Health Outreach Trainers for General Industry). The “General Industry” is regulated by OSHA’s standards, directives, and the interpretations (includes the cannabis industry) that requires a workplace hazard-free.

Then there’s the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), Safe Work Australia (SWA), and many, many other countries, etc… will often require the “General Industry” equivalent type of training to get workers to conduct their duties safely. You most likely have an Emergency Action Plan, Safety and Health Programs, or even Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) from those regulatory requirements. It’s core for business operations to ensure workers know what to do to reduce risks.

The mistake that many businesses make is “skipping the basics” and assuming workers in the cannabis industry know everything about workplace safety. This almost never works; workplace injuries are inevitable… typically, occupational safety and health training is the next best place to start a new Learning Plan (usually these topics are “General Industry” and apply to ANY workplace around the world), although this can depend on the business. This type of occupational safety training is priceless, and benefits include:

  • Reduced Workplace Accidents
  • Economic Benefits
  • Increased Company Standards
  • Understanding Workplace Hazards

It’s too much liability and risk skipping this type of safety training in the industry for “Worker Avatars.” That’s why we follow the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” to transform any “Worker Avatars” into safe workers and safe workers that start to optimize the workplace. When trained properly, those workers will be much more receptive to your workplace safety standards that need to be MAINTAINED so it is free from recognized hazards. And, for example, cannabis companies will need to offer even more in-depth workplace safety or occupational health topics, here’s another Learning Plan as an example you can review right now here:

OK, now that you understand how to ensure safety, let’s talk about the next section where we “Increase Operational Profitability” by leveraging “soft skills” to increase the VALUE for industry workers. Often, simply adding a Learning Plan and all the compliance training is enough to explode operational profitability (make more $$$) by reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace. As long as you over-deliver and provide immense value with your Learning Plans to meet government safety requirements, cannabis industry workers will be highly interested in continuing their professional development. And here’s something to keep in mind:

In some cases, professional selling topics from the soft skills training will immediately make you more profitable. It doesn’t have to, though. If you follow through the training optimization process, you could TAKE everything you make from better margins to continuously reinvest it with additional training.

It might STUN you to find out that many of the most successful businesses in the world make no profit from training until they reach the next stages, which are… “Increase Operational Profitability” and “Annual Re-Training Plan.” Here’s where things get interesting…

Step 6: Increase Operational Profitability

Recently Harvard University researchers found that only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and 85% comes from soft skills. But, is there evidence that soft skills actually increase profits? As put forth as the irrefutable law of business GROWTH by Jay Abraham, there are only three (3) ways to grow a business using “Profit Maximizers” to impact revenue in your cannabis operations:

  1. Increase the number of customers…
  2. Increase the average transaction value per customer…
  3. Increase the number of transactions per customer…

Now THAT is a killer “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” that you want to implement – one that sets you up for long-term profits and steady development. These “Profit Maximizers” are learned and applied abilities that you can instill in your workplace:

  • Soft Skills: Informal abilities that are learned over a person’s lifetime and usually relate to the person’s aptitude.
  • Hard Skills: These are often formal and technical abilities learned from workplaces, mentorships, and training.
  • Role-Critical Skills: These are hard skills that are specialized for a specific team member function or job role.

And that is what you will FIND the “Increase Operational Profitability” step is in the “Cannabis training Optimization Strategy”:

“Profit Maximizers” are often transferable across careers and industries. As a result, you may find that you possess many of the required traits, even if you don’t match the EXACT profile for a “Worker Avatar.” These types of skills broadly refer to mindset, attitude, and personal or behavioral tendencies. Most businesses don’t provide additional skills training… therefore they don’t have the ability to maximize profits to increase their margins and they will typically “live and die” training on only what’s required.

This leads to workers on the “front-lines” of the industry not knowing how to optimize your sales and make a major impact on revenue. This is why they struggle… but why you will not. Would it shock you to find out that McDonald’s makes almost NO money on the profit-margin of a hamburger? So, what is the “hamburger” in the “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” process, it is this:

  1. Ensure Industry Compliance
  2. Reduce Workplace Risks

It’s the French fries and soda that are the “Profit Maximizers” that built the great “Golden Arches” and likewise will do in the cannabis industry… it is with these additional SKILLS that will truly drive revenue. Best Buy sells laptops and plasma TV’s on wafer-thin margins you can’t resist purchasing… but they maximize their profits by up-selling warranties, installation, and Geek Squad support.

Amazon utilizes cross-sells or up-sells as “Profit Maximizers” offer when they show you, “People who bought this product, also bought that product” to increase the average transaction value… but Amazon also makes product bundles as “Profit Maximizers” too in offer with their “Frequently Bought Together” offer. So HOW do you incorporate these “Profit Maximizers” in the cannabis industry, there are so many options such as subscriptions for dispensary memberships and other continuity offers to make profits…

“Profit Maximizer” Skill Development

The strategy in our training optimization is to “Increase Operational Profitability.” This drives the immediate revenue recognition from additional skills training… this is what truly makes an impact directly on the bottom-line PROFIT… for most companies, the investment in developing soft skills and nurturing emotional intelligence pays off.

According to a University of Michigan study, soft skills training boosts productivity and employee retention by 12% and yields a 256% Return-on-Investment (ROI). For businesses in every “General Industry,” the question isn’t whether INVESTING in skills training is worthwhile; it’s about which approaches will yield the best outcomes. For example, here are ten (10) types of skills training that would be “Profit Maximizers:”

  1. Relationship-Building: The ability to positively engage other people, build long-term relationships & beneficial networks.
  2. Product Knowledge: Inadequate chemistry & product knowledge is unacceptable in the vast world of the cannabis industry.
  3. Time Management: While selling involves money, something a lot more precious gets exchanged & utilized along the way – time.
  4. Research & Information Gathering: Enables a worker to make better decisions, engage the right customers & close the deal.
  5. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving: You need critical thinking skills to process information, analyze disparate data & information.
  6. Collaboration: The ability to align one’s personal goals, workflows & schedule with those of others is an important skillset.
  7. Business Communication: Talent at engaging customers during the sales or articulating a concept can still be improved.
  8. Active Listening: There are different levels of listening, but active listening requires focus as well as occasional or follow-up.
  9. Conflict Management & Resolution: Expect workers to encounter regular episodes of complaints, conflicts & rejections.
  10. Social Media & Social Selling: Many companies now employ social media managers to oversee their brand’s online presence.

Hint: When industry workers have developed their skills… from that point on, ALL interactions they have moving forward with customers will be profit-maximizing. This is essential to increase the value of industry workers by enhancing their skills to truly maximize revenue. You can see why they’re called “Profit Maximizers,” because you get more sales which will be much more profitable than your margins gained from compliance requirements for safety training. Remember: the single biggest expense most companies will incur is the cost of acquiring a new hire (which starts all new cannabis industry workers back to the original steps).

Every interaction that happens after industry workers complete the “Increase Operational Profitability” step is to increase the customer’s immediate and lifetime value. It is important to remember that the average training cost per employee is $1,252, according to the ADT. Money isn’t the only thing you will spend on training. You also need to put in your time. So, take some time to think about what you could be offering different skills training. What could you BUNDLE with your professional development? How can you incorporate skills into your team? Find your “Profit Maximizer,” and become unstoppable. But there is one more way…

Step 7: Annual Re-Training Plan

The fastest way to grow a business is to continually train the cannabis industry “Worker Avatar.” This “Annual Re-Training Plan” step is designed for the old or existing employees of the cannabis business, with a purpose to acquaint them with the industry, changes, new skills, methods, and processes required to improve their performance on the jobs. Refresher training is just as important as initial training. One could even argue that annual re-training plans may be MORE important than initial training because it increases employee productivity rates and lowers operational costs related to re-doing their work and unsatisfactory customer experiences.

The goal of the “Annual Re-Training Plan” is to have annual, strategic professional development for “Worker Avatars” that cause them to be re-optimized again and again. Because they have completed their “Cannabis Training Optimization Strategy” through the different Learning Plans, you can continue to train them. Even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards stipulate annual training requirements that enforce health and safety standards for workers. How can companies get STARTED with annual re-training? To determine the right soft skills strategy for your talent pool, it is recommended to perform a health check.

Start with your turnover rate. If people are quitting left and right, that’s very costly. Look at your customer satisfaction. Unhappy employees make unhappy customers. You can offer new Learning Plans to add more government compliance, worker and workplace safety, etc… to continuously INCREASE operational profitability because you have developed them or need to bring them back to the training that they didn’t complete the first time around. The “Annual Re-Training Plan” is anything that brings the “Worker Avatar” back more frequently to acquire skills or completely new training required for their promotion even, including the following…

  • Industry Developments
  • Change Management
  • Management Operations
  • Executive Education
  • Customized Training
  • Outbound Sales Calling

And many others… and that, my friends, is the strategy we have used (and continue to use) to grow Green CulturED and multiple other businesses throughout the cannabis industry. It’s WORKED for single-person businesses and giant corporations like McDonald’s and Starbucks… it works because it takes all the “jigsaw pieces” and fits them together in a way that fits holistically. And if you begin applying it the way we’ve just explained, it will help you (too!) to grow and scale yourself into business within the industry.

Our Mission

We're Green CulturED and we're on a mission. It's a simple, but a very powerful mission: We will train 1,000,000+ individuals over the next five (5) years everything there's to know about cannabis and HELP ensure regulatory compliance, reduce risk, and increase profitability.

If we achieve this mission, we will create 100's of 1,000's of opportunities for individuals that will add BILLIONS into the global economy. That's a big deal! It's an important mission and we're "radically committed" since we believe it will change the world, yet we need your help.

Why? We do this because we believe this industry is the most challenging, interesting and rewarding field there is. And finally, we do it for YOU. In the end, it's our community who matters. We learn from you. We're thankful for you... if you share our vision, let's get started!

Evan Erickson

Evan Erickson

Chief Training Officer

Message From Our Founder

How would you describe your cannabis training? Underwhelming? Non-existent? If you said anything other than a "well-oiled machine," then you’re at the RIGHT place if you want to transform ordinary training into a well-developed solution.

Is your training actually making a MEASUREABLE difference to you? I asked this question about my "learning experiences" when I got started in cannabis, I didn't like the answer. That's why we're here, so you'll always be a cannabis expert.

In the spirit of "open-sourcing" our eLearning solutions you’ll find our ground-breaking training, industry strategies, and Ed-Tech to learn everything you need (or actually GROW your business) and much more... without all of the headaches.