What to Know About Employee Screening in the Cannabis Industry

Last Updated on May 8, 2023

By MyHRScreens

Employee screening is particularly important in the cannabis industry for several reasons. This industry is unique due to its historical context, regulatory environment, and the nature of the product being sold. Ensuring that employees are properly screened helps to maintain compliance, safety, and professionalism. Key reasons for employee screening in the cannabis industry include:

  1. Regulatory compliance: The cannabis industry is heavily regulated, and non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, including fines, license revocation, and even criminal charges. Employers must ensure that their employees meet the necessary qualifications and don’t have a history of violating regulations.
  2. Protecting the business: Employee misconduct or illegal activities can jeopardize the reputation and financial stability of a cannabis business. Thorough background checks help employers identify potential risks and minimize the chances of hiring someone who might engage in activities that could harm the company.
  3. Ensuring public safety: The cannabis industry is responsible for providing safe and legal products to consumers. Employers must ensure that their employees handle and process cannabis products according to the established guidelines to prevent contamination, diversion to the black market, or sales to underage customers.
  4. Reducing liability: Employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees, particularly if they were negligent in hiring or supervising them. Comprehensive background checks can help employers minimize the risk of liability by identifying individuals with a history of criminal activity, substance abuse, or other red flags.
  5. Building trust: As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it is essential to maintain a positive public perception. Hiring trustworthy employees who uphold the highest standards of professionalism helps establish a company’s credibility and fosters trust with consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders.

State Searches and FBI Searches are Not Enough

Many states only require a state specific or FBI criminal database search. While it is important to meet state regulations for your employee screening program, it is also important that your program has the compliant information you need to make hiring decisions. Therefore, it is often necessary to run more extensive background checks than just state-specific or FBI checks. Here are some key reasons why:

  1. Inaccurate information: State and FBI criminal record databases rely on information submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies. However, not all agencies submit complete and accurate records, leading to gaps in the database and potentially inaccurate information in the background check report.
  2. Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliance (FCRA): The FCRA requires that background checks be tailored to the specific job or licensing decision and that individuals have the opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the information in the background check report. State and FBI criminal checks may not always meet these requirements.

Make Sure Your Screening Program Protects your Company

Due to these inadequacies, we suggest cannabis companies utilize a Consumer Reporting Agency such as MyHRScreens to ensure you have a comprehensive and compliant employee screening program. We suggest you consider the following in your screening program:

  1. Multi-state checks: Employees may have lived or worked in multiple states, and their criminal history might not be captured by a single state’s records. Multi-state checks help ensure that employers have a more comprehensive view of an applicant’s background.
  2. International checks: As the cannabis industry expands globally, companies may hire employees from other countries. Conducting international background checks can provide critical information about an individual’s criminal history, work experience, and qualifications outside of the United States.
  3. Employment and education verification: Confirming an applicant’s employment history and educational credentials is essential to ensure they possess the necessary skills and experience for the job. This can help employers avoid hiring unqualified individuals who may falsify their qualifications.
  4. Drug testing: Given the nature of the cannabis industry, it’s essential to ensure that employees can responsibly handle and manage the products. Drug testing as part of the screening process can help ensure that employees do not have substance abuse issues that could impact their job performance. Drug tests can include or exclude THC at management discretion.

Overall, a comprehensive employee screening program from a Consumer Reporting Agency like MyHRScreens is crucial for the success and integrity of the cannabis industry. By conducting thorough background checks that go beyond state-specific and FBI checks, employers can mitigate risks, protect their businesses, and contribute to the industry’s positive growth.

Use MyHRScreens to Provide a Comprehensive and Compliant Screening Program

Contact Kim Lewis at 866-899-8970 xt 118 or klewis@myhrscreens.com to learn more how MyHRScreens can help you with your employee screening program.