School is in session this summer for Colorado marijuana workers
- Three government agencies have teamed up to provide safety training for employees in Colorado's marijuana industry, reports Westword. Colorado's Department of Agriculture and Department of Public Health and Environment, together with the federal OSHA, will offer the course in late June.
- Training will focus on issues such as fire hazards (in addition to safety hurdles seen in similar businesses), cannabis pesticide application and other factors associated with the federally illegal industry, says Westword. The course will be an overview of a guide issued by the state Department of Agriculture in February.
- The initiative aims to promote safety in the marijuana industry and to encourage business owners to develop safety programs at their work sites. Since 2014, when Colorado dispensaries opened up, Denver alone has had more than 80 cannabis recalls, some stemming from the use of illegal or unlabeled pesticides.
Colorado is taking important steps in preparing future marijuana growers to operate their businesses safely. The course will teach participants which federal mandates they'll need to follow and what legal obligations employers in other industries have to protect workers. It'll be interesting to see whether other states implement similar practices as the campaign to legalize recreational and medical marijuana use continues.
The marijuana industry will need HR's leadership as it grows. Research shows marijuana jobs may soon outpace manufacturing ones, despite the drug's legal status in only slightly over half of states. For more than one reason, marijuana businesses are an important case study for the implementation of modern HR practices.
The industry is no stranger to health and safety violations, sexual harassment claims, training voids and other workplace issues HR can help its stakeholders navigate. Given current federal laws around marijuana, HR will likely look to state and federal regulations governing other industries keep the nascent industry compliant.