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Criminal Record Checks for the Cannabis Industry

September 16th, 2020

Cannabis, Human Resources

3 min read

Employment in the marijuana industry in Canada is growing. Last year, Canada introduced legalized recreational cannabis to the nation, and employment in the sector has skyrocketed. Marijuana companies expect to add 150,000 jobs over the next couple years and with that will come some strict regulation. This is great news for everyone, but with government-mandated criminal record checks for all employees on the horizon, it poses a unique challenge to hiring quickly in the cannabis space because some of the best employees have criminal records. There is a solution!

The Problem

Canada is in an odd position right now because the march to legalization was so long that numerous illegal dispensaries sprung up across the country. These storefront locations provided income for the proprietors and staff they have hired.

Unfortunately, prior to legalization, they resulted in new criminal records, which is especially concerning for those with titles like “clerk” or “budtender.” Many of these types of workers are young, and passionate about the product and were caught on the wrong side of "Cannabis Prohibition”. These people can make great employees in the legalized sector given their experience and product knowledge but with a traditional criminal record check, would have to jump through major hoops to "pass". Not to mention, criminal record checks (prior to Certn) could take weeks and require a trip to a local police station for fingerprinting.

Not only would the employer benefit from having these employees with records, it would also help the employees leave the illegal sector. The biggest problem that the government has with the idea of people with records working in the marijuana industry is organized crime. This is one of the main reasons the government wants to legalize marijuana: to take the profits out of the hands of criminals who may be involved in drug and weapons trafficking, gang associations, and violent crime.T

To date, most companies in the licenced (or soon to be licenced) Cannabis space have been hesitant to adopt proper background screening practices because they were too slow and too expensive. Imagine having to hire 1,000 people in a month... and waiting at least a week per background check AND all of the paper.

The Solution

There is a solution! Products like Certn help cannabis companies complete background checks in as little as 15 minutes, all online and help identify a candidate's crimes to ensure they're not a risk to the business. There are 5 key features to look for as a cannabis company selecting a background check provider:

  1. Speed. Ensure the speed of the checks are fast and that there are no "rush order" fees. Certn completes RCMP criminal record checks and US criminal record checks in as little as 15 minutes.
  2. Support. Make sure that your provider has a support team that understands the cannabis industry and the types of employees that work in the cannabis space. Many will have possession charges and 60% of them won't be able to remember the dates or details of their charges. Support teams need to easily be able to show candidates how to find that information quickly. Certn completes over 1,000 checks per month for the cannabis industry in Canada and has specialists dedicated to helping cannabis companies and their candidates.
  3. Easy. Your provider needs an easy way for candidates to complete their criminal record checks. With the amount of competition for talent in the cannabis space, roadblocks can lead to lost talent. Having a solution that is friendly and mobile-friendly is really important, especially if you want to hire on the spot! Certn is the only mobile-friendly background check provider in Canada and is constantly praised for ease of use. We verify 100% of ID's online and don't send candidates on wild goose chases to police stations or post offices.
  4. Comprehensive. Just looking at CPIC isn't always good enough. If someone is under investigation, has been recently arrested, or is a member of organized crime (not convicted), they may not show up in a criminal record check. This is important because hiring someone who has ties to organized crime or who is under investigation could put your license in jeopardy. Certn is the only provider to offer Enhanced RCMP Checks AND Softcheck which looks at over 200,000 sources of police information, negative news, criminal and court records.
  5. Customization. Many Background check services are resellers of other companies' data and are built on platforms that aren't proprietary. Meaning, if there's customization or new service that you would like, these companies can't react quickly.

A Health Canada consultation paper released late last year allows people with minor, non-violent, records to take on roles outside of the “C-suite.” In other words, people with records could be great employees. Many candidates with experience in the cannabis space will have a criminal record so finding the right background check provider is crucial.

Contact Certn

If you are an employer in the cannabis space and are interested in background checks, book a demo today for a free consultation on how you can maintain compliance without turning away great people.

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