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How to Spot High Customers, according to Ontario's Cannabis Education Program for Marijuana Retailers

This week, retail cannabis workers in Ontario can begin taking the province's mandatory crash course on all things weed, which will include a section on how to tell if a customer is under the influence.

While CannSell - Ontario's new mandatory training program for cannabis retail workers - will cover all sorts of topics that staff on the frontline of cannabis retail need to know, one portion of the program sticks out. Each person who goes through the CannSell course will receive training on how to identify intoxicated customers, as dispensary clerks are not supposed to sell cannabis to anyone who is already under the influence.

Employees taking the course will be instructed to watch out for red eyes, dry mouths and clumsiness. 

"[Intoxicated people] fumble with things," Andrew Murie - CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, which partnered with cannabis technology company Lift & Co to develop the CannSell program for the Ontario government. "As they're putting their card in, and they have to put their pin number in, they'll fumble with that."

Beyond looking for people with poor coordination, Murie says workers should also pay attention to speech patterns and the customer's ability to focus and respond quickly.

"Speech is a real big thing—it goes high, it goes low," Murie said. "There's a delayed reaction when you ask them a question. They're kind of looking off to the side."

But, as Leafly reports, the CannSell tips are already receiving criticism for perpetuating stereotypes about cannabis consumers. 

However, Murie insists that the CannSell program won't lead to people who are just a little clumsy or loud from being turned away. Workers must identify multiple signs of intoxication before they can refuse service to anyone and he says it should be "really obvious" that the person in question is under the influence of something.

"One of the fundamental questions right off the bat was: if you smell cannabis on somebody, is that enough to say you're not going to serve them? We had to go, 'No that's not enough.' This is not about use of cannabis; it's whether they're intoxicated."

The four-hour course will cost C$49.99 per person and participants must score at least 80 percent on the included exam to pass. If they fail twice, they will have to pay the fee to take the CannSell course again, which they must pass in order to work in an Ontario dispensary.

Check out a sample version of the CannSell exam below.


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