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What education or training do you need to sell cannabis?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2403

Private cannabis retailers require a licence from their provincial government regulator to sell cannabis products. Generally, there is no formal education required to obtain a licence, however, provincial regulations determine if there are training and educational requirements to work as an employee at a licensed cannabis dispensary.

Education and training courses across Canada

Across Canada, both licensed producers and cannabis retailers generally only hire individuals who have some formal level of education and training in the cannabis field. In addition, many cannabis producers will look to graduates of these programs to hire as technicians and in other positions.

Provincial and territorial retail cannabis store regulators have or are developing courses for retail cannabis workers.

 In addition to government required education, most provinces have cannabis-related training and education programs available at local colleges and universities which offer courses in the cultivation, promotion and sale of cannabis products. Courses cover all areas of the cannabis market, from health and safety regulations and how to grow cannabis (environmental conditions, lighting, pest control), to the business side of promotion such as marketing, pricing and packaging.


Education for retailers

Staff who work at cannabis stores must:

  • be at least 18 years of age,
  • undergo a background check, and
  • must also complete mandatory Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) training through a program called SellSafe.

The SellSafe program is similar to the course employees working with gaming and liquor must complete and takes 4-6 hours to complete.

Cultivation education:

At Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta students can complete courses online in the online Cannabis Education Program. There is a strong focus on how to understand and comply with the Cannabis Act regulations.

Olds College in Alberta offers the Cannabis Production and the Introduction to Cannabis Retail programs.


Education for retailers

Staff who work at cannabis stores must:

  • be at least 19 years old
  • be security-verified by the province every two years.

In the future, employees will be required to complete a provincial training program, which is currently being developed.

Cultivation education:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers online courses as part of its Cannabis Career Training Program. Classes teach plant production and facilities management, sales and marketing, drug development, and how to finance a cannabis business in Canada. The University also offers a Retail Cannabis Consultant Certificate Program, which trains students who want to become cannabis retailers on compliance with the laws as well as customer service.


Education for retailers

Staff who work at cannabis stores must:


Cultivation education

The New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, through its subsidiary Cannabis NB is working with Community College New Brunswick (CCNC) and the licensed cannabis producer Organigram, to provide a 12-week Cannabis Cultivation Technician program. The first program began January 2019.


Education for retailers

Cannabis information company Lift & Co. administers the five-day Cannabis Retail Training Certification to Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) employees.

Cultivation education

In partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in British Columbia, Dalhousie University, College of Continuing Education in NS is offering a series of online courses in cannabis cultivation and management.


Education for retailers

All retail managers and employees must complete the CannSell program designed and approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) of Ontario. The CannSell program is a mandatory online course that takes approximately four hours to complete and is designed to educate retail employees on selling cannabis along with retail legal and regulatory responsibilities. 

Cultivation education:


Education for retailers

Owners and employees of private cannabis retail stores must receive certification by completing the official provincial training program – CannaSell SK Responsible Cannabis Sales.


Cultivation education

McGill’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences offers workshops on medical cannabis production and quality control.


Education for retailers
The Yukon Liquor Corporation is developing an online training certification course that is mandatory for cannabis retail staff and licensees.  The course will cover a number of topics including:

  • legislation and policy
  • how to tell if someone is intoxicated
  • what is cannabis and its properties
  • health risks associated with cannabis use
  • cannabis potency
  • rules for selling cannabis
  • acceptable identification
  • buying and transporting cannabis
  • when to refuse to sell cannabis

For more information about cannabis and the law, choose from our 100 topics on Cannabis Law.

To erase your criminal record for simple cannabis possession or any other criminal charges, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .

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