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Cannabis Employee Handbooks


An employee handbook is a must-have for any cannabis business. It is an important resource that may increase the efficiency and revenues of a cannabis company, ensure that workers understand performance and conduct requirements, and serve as a defense against employment disputes, among other things.

In the cannabis industry, developing an employee handbook will need more care and attention to detail than it would in other industries. It is critical to create one that is specific to your sector and the myriad issues that may arise as a consequence of working in an environment where cannabis products are present.

Many company owners underestimate the relevance of a well-written employee handbook in their organization. The fact is that devoting time and effort to developing a complete and thorough cannabis employee handbook is one of the most effective methods to protect you, your workers, your goods and services, and your cannabis company as a whole from legal and regulatory liability.

An effective handbook promotes best practices as well as an organizational structure for staff. A cannabis employee handbook, if implemented incorrectly, might generate dissatisfaction among your staff. It may even become a burden for you as a company owner if you don’t take precautions.

What is a cannabis employee handbook?

When it comes to policies, a handbook is the go-to source. The objective of any employee handbook is to provide information to employees about the company’s operational processes and policies. An employee handbook is a collection of regulations, procedures, working conditions, and behavioral standards that regulate employees’ behaviors in a specific company.

An employee handbook is meant to inform all full- and part-time workers on the terms and conditions of employment. It is usually provided to new employees on their first day of employment with the organization. A handbook also describes attendance standards, specifies job classifications, and covers topics such as the usage of business property, extreme weather closures, and anything else that employees may need to know.

When looking for legal clarity, a handbook is often the first place to go. It communicates legal information, such as workplace violence regulations, standards for workplace safety, and so on. As a result, it safeguards both the rights of workers and the rights of businesses.

Why you need a cannabis employee handbook

Establishes a well-defined chain of command

Transparency is created, as is a better awareness of how each team member contributes, and it guarantees that your staff knows whom to turn to when there is a problem inside the organization. Each employee will get acquainted with the many facets of working inside your firm if your handbook is correctly implemented.

Enables you to create realistic expectations

Set the tone for your team’s success by establishing ground rules from the beginning. Make certain that they are aware of and understand how you want them to act and perform when on the job and when they are not. Communicate effectively what will happen if they perform well or not.

Avoids legal liabilities

Whenever you are attempting to comply with federal regulations and state legislation, the handbook offers protection by recording the procedures that must be followed. Employers may avoid legal liabilities by having a cannabis-compliant handbook, with all of your rules clearly written out.

The lack of an employee handbook in the event that your firm is sued for employment-related claims will almost certainly be used by opposing counsel to demonstrate the absence of any consistent rules or processes under which workers are handled.

Reminds workers of their legal responsibilities and entitlements

The employee handbook is designed to ease the load on your company’s human resources representative from having to explain the rules and perks to each employee. Additionally, when workers are aware of company-sponsored benefits and encouraged to participate, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Creates an introduction to your company’s culture for your new employees

You want your workers to have a clear picture of what your company’s culture is like before they start working there. You may introduce new workers to your founders, explain your company’s history, and showcase the culture that you’ve worked so hard to establish in your cannabis employee handbook.

Reassures employees that they are treated fairly

Unwritten and unspoken rules and regulations create situations in which employees believe they are being treated unfairly.  Employee handbooks comfort employees that they are not the only ones who are required to request vacation time in advance or to wait a month before enrolling in company-sponsored benefits, among other things.

What’s inside a cannabis employee handbook

What information should be included in your cannabis business employee handbook? The following are some of the topics that should be covered in your company’s handbook:

Legal language

Employee handbooks are in place to shield both you and those who work for you from legal liability. The most effective approach to do this is to include statements in your policies and procedures that notify your workers of their rights and obligations. An Employment at Will declaration, equal employment opportunity and complaint handling policy, and conflicts of interest and confidentiality agreement are just a few examples of what you should include.

Benefits for employees

There should be more to an employee handbook than simply a long list of rules and regulations. Employees must know what’s in it for them, so be sure to include all the possible perks they’ll be entitled to. That is to say, employee benefits, vacation and sick days, salary and bonuses, medical, dental, and vision insurance and reimbursement policies.

Appropriate conduct

If you don’t have clearly specified rules, you’re leaving yourself up to ambiguities that might have a detrimental impact on your workplace, culture, and bottom line. Include in your handbook information on dispensary dress code, work hours, safety, workplace behavior, and social media behavior, among other things.

Disciplinary action

Every cannabis company should require a written policy stating staff expectations and repercussions for not meeting them. They should adopt a progressive disciplinary policy that notifies workers when they fail to achieve behavior and performance requirements and gives them time to change.

Employment relationship

The classification of employees is based on federal regulations. This section should provide a definition for each employee classification that is used. Independent contractors, employees, statutory employees, and statutory non-employees are all examples of different sorts of business relationships. Also included in this part is information on the dispensary’s typical business hours, work week, schedules, and permissible breaks. 

Employment separation 

When an employee’s working connection with a company is terminated, this is referred to as an employment separation. When an employee chooses to voluntarily quit, the dispensary expects them to provide written notice, and the procedure for terminating the employee is outlined in this section.

Best Practices

Make it straightforward and understandable

Maintain a lighthearted and informative tone, but make sure it is professional and clearly specifies the dos and don’ts of your company’s operations. Good handbooks are clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Make use of it to get your message across

Use your employee handbook to clarify precisely what your rules and regulations are. Use it to communicate important information, direct your employees as to what’s expected of them, and maintain a more organized and productive workplace. Make sure to provide a precise explanation of roles, training manual rules, documentation requirements, and so forth. By stating things clearly and simply, you won’t leave your staff guessing. 

Reflect adherence to regulations and your company’s culture

Your handbook’s content should reflect conformity with all relevant federal, state, and local regulations governing the employment relationship, among other things. Your employee handbook should also reflect your organization’s values, culture, and specific business practices. Make use of your employee handbook to develop best practices and to instill a sense of pride in your staff as they represent you. 

Make sure you don’t simply copy and paste from the internet

The internet has its share of boilerplate employee handbook PDFs and employee handbook templates for dispensaries, cultivation operations, and other types of cannabis businesses. The problem is that these may overlook relevant state or local laws and not reflect one’s business culture and practices  Furthermore, there is no one size fits all employee handbook for every company. The fact that they looked to be harmless on the surface does not rule out the possibility that they would cause difficulties later on.

Make it up-to-date and readily available

Laws change, and with them, so do people and your company. For cannabis companies, you may be transitioning from startup mode to a more mature workplace, and it is important to assess which rules are effective and which are ineffective.


The Cannabis Employee Handbook is a comprehensive and exhaustive guide for every employee in a cannabis business. A well-written employee handbook is a useful tool for any business, but if you work in the cannabis industry, you will want to make sure your handbook meets all state and local requirements. 

Cannaspire helps businesses create cannabis employee handbooks customized to each business’s needs. Our cannabis employee handbook solutions are designed to provide companies in this fast-growth industry with all of the important information needed to keep employees informed and safeguard your cannabis business.

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