Running a successful cannabis dispensary starts with hiring the right group of people. With more and more dispensaries opening up in new markets, the competition is increasing and your staff can help set your business apart if you keep these five factors in mind during the hiring process.

1. Safety

How important is safety in the workplace? Very. Although it is your job as an employer to provide a safe work environment, there are plenty of potential hazards and injuries that your employees will face every day. From working with sharp trimming scissors to wearing gloves when packaging to slipping on a wet floor, safety is crucial to every healthy working environment. Ask interviewees if they have any safety training or certificates, and how important they consider safety in the workplace. You should always share evacuation plans and the location of first aid kits, chemical safety data sheets, and other safety information with new hires, preferably during training. Regular reviews help employees keep safety in the forefront of their mind as they go about their day.

2. Risk Management  

There are inherent risks in running a cannabis dispensary, much like there are risks for running any business. Cannabis has the unique position of being a largely cash-only model, however, due to federal prohibition. That means that employees must have a thorough protocol of how to safely handle cash on a day-to-day basis and on a shift-to-shift basis, both to prevent mismanagement and to create secure measures that prevent theft. New employees should be trained on your specific cash-handling protocols and other safety protocols. Consider asking interviewees about their experience with risk management and how they’ve seen it positively impact their working environment.

3. Sales Skills

On the frontlines on the sales floor, that is where a dispensary makes its money. You need good salespeople that can connect customers with the right product and to close the deal to get that sale today. But it’s worth asking (and maybe observing) what their usual sales techniques are like when trying to win over a customer who is on the fence. You want their sales techniques to match the tone of your establishment. That plays right into our next point…

4. Reputation

To build a solid reputation with repeat customers, you need a sales team with excellent customer service. Questions for your applicants could include: Can they memorize a frequently-changing list of products and their benefits? Can they help customers enjoy the experience of shopping for cannabis? Will your customers look forward to seeing them again? What kind of customer service experience do you have, both inside and outside of cannabis?

5. Compliance

Cannabis regulation has allowed dispensaries to offer a wide variety of products, but there are many rules to follow that vary from region to region. Your staff needs to be able and willing to follow the rules and laws, both when you are present and when you are not. Your team needs to be trustworthy and have the proper training to ensure your business stays compliant and doesn’t run afoul of fines or license suspensions.

Every dispensary has its own needs and niche, but these are a few of the qualities you should look for when hiring staff.