Illinois Responsible Vendor Training Case Study

The Following Instructional Design Case Study Will Provide You an Example of How We Has Created CUSTOM eLearning Solutions for Our Cannabis Industry Partners & This Gives an Insight Into Our Work. 

State-Mandated Industry Compliance Training

As the legal medical and recreational cannabis industry expands across Illinois, companies within this new marketplace notice a lack of professional quality training to EDUCATE their workforce and maintain compliance. Illinois’ “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act” provides for the controlled legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is charged under the Act with implementing and administering MULTIPLE aspects of the “Adult Use Cannabis Program,” including the licensing in the state and oversight of dispensing organizations, dispensary agents, and agent education providers.

Recently, Green CulturED partnered with Elevated Education to bring to market the Illinois Responsible Vendor training, the first-ever comprehensive training program REQUIRED for cannabis industry workers in the state. Elevated Education came to Green CulturED with the idea to create accredited compliance training for cannabis industry workers to meet government compliance.

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission..."

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission"

Disjointed Cannabis Laws & Industry Guidelines

The piecemeal, state-by-state nature of cannabis legalization prohibits the development of overarching federal laws to regulate the industry. The novelty of the cannabis industry and shifting public opinion about cannabis means that there are more “mainstream” people obtaining jobs in Illinois, increasing the NEED for government cannabis industry compliance training, which may have been largely ignored in the past.

This is becoming a problem for cannabis dispensary owners, managers, and staff. From growers (who may have started as enthusiasts) to retail Dispensary Technicians (who may have been hired for their past customer service or retail experience), the need for CONSISTENT compliance training across the cannabis industry is becoming very apparent. Whether cannabis companies blaze through the challenges or go up in smoke trying, the cannabis industry provides an insightful case study for Illinois employers who must meet the state’s Responsible Vendor annual training requirements.

More often than not, substantial training and development programs are being required to meet compliance requirements as the cannabis industry becomes legalized. With no national standards or “best practices,” owners of cannabis businesses must look to state laws for worker training requirements if ANY exist. Some states require employee registration; others require education on specific topics, like patient confidentiality. Still, other governments have no guidelines or cannabis industry compliance training at all.

Cannabis Industry “Training Gap” Study

A research study by Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research called “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff” published by Nancy A. Haug, Dustin Kieschnick, James E. Sottile, Kimberly A. Babson, Ryan Vandrey, and Marcel O. Bonn-Miller. The study revealed just over half (55%) of dispensary employees have had any FORMAL training regarding cannabis and only 20% had any type of specific medical or scientific training.

Of that group, 94% reported that even though untrained, they provided advice, guidance, or counsel to patients. Research also found recommendations in response to a patient’s conditions are frequently counter (or opposite) to the existing empirical literature on recommended cannabis use for disorders. Unfortunately, consumers look to dispensary agents for cannabis ADVICE rather than physicians when making decisions.

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission"

Recently, Green CulturED partnered with Elevated Education to bring to market the Illinois Responsible Vendor training, the first-ever comprehensive training program REQUIRED for cannabis industry workers in the state. Elevated Education came to Green CulturED with an idea to create an accredited compliance training for cannabis industry workers to meet government compliance.

Elevated Education Case Study

An Instructional Product Development Case Study Made Specifically for the Cannabis Industry & How We Were ENGAGED to Design Compliance Training That Created a Custom eLearning Instructional Product.

Project Sponsor: Elevated Education

Elevated Education is a woman and minority-owned firm dedicated to providing high quality, instructional sound training, and educational content. With many years of experience creating courses and curriculum for corporations, colleges and universities, the military, and a wide variety of industries, they have worked CLOSELY with clients to identify and fulfill all of the cannabis industry compliance training requirements.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), Division of Professional Regulation, Cannabis Control Section approved Elevated Elevation as an approved Responsible Vendor training provider. This designation authorizes them to DELIVER training for Dispensary Agents, including Dispensary Technicians (aka “Budtenders”), Managers and Agents-in-Charge. The Responsible Vendor training provides Dispensary Agents with compliance industry training on the following cannabis-related topics:

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission..."

The Responsible Vendor compliance training requirements include topics similar to the service-industry education required for serving alcohol called “TIPS” (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) but is tailored to the Illinois cannabis regulatory structure. All dispensing agents currently working in Illinois MUST receive Responsible Vendor training from a provider approved by Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to ensure they have been trained before agents can legally make sales to customers.

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission..."

Elevated Education’s Business Problem

A rapidly changing legal landscape in Illinois resulted in immense growth in the cannabis industry, creating an education and skills gap that required instructional product development. An eLearning compliance training course was developed by Elevated Education as an IDEAL solution to effectively train state-wide, with consistent, auditable, and accurate information that’s needed in Illinois’ industry.

The legalization of the cannabis industry meant new retail infrastructure, new distribution rules, new licensing rules, and a transition to a new legal framework for growers. Seeing an opportunity to HELP their clients maintain compliance with regulatory laws and frameworks, Elevated Education became one of the very first accredited cannabis compliance industry training companies in the state of Illinois.

Their team wanted to create an eLearning course that they could sell to their clients, to train frontline customer service staff and management in the retail cannabis marketplace. Elevated Education partnered with Green CulturED’s Instructional Design for the entire “Responsible Vendor” compliance training product development and VALUED their team’s ability to deliver on the following:

Elevated Education’s Constraints

As Elevated Education needed to develop the “Responsible Vendor” compliance training while regulations were still being drafted, this created SEVERAL constraints:

"Helping Catalyze Our Social Equity Community That'll Make an Empowering IMPACT 100% Around Their Mission..."

Their team wanted to create an eLearning course that they could sell to their clients, to train frontline customer service staff and management in the retail cannabis marketplace. Elevated Education partnered with Green CulturED’s Instructional Design for the entire “Responsible Vendor” compliance training product development and VALUED their team’s ability to deliver on the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

Find Questions Frequently Asked & Answers Provided for Informational Purposes ONLY By the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

To apply, one needs to provide an attestation, upload a photograph, proof of residence, official ID, and documentation of any past criminal offenses.

First, secure a job. Only after being employed can you apply for the IDFPR agent ID card, which is necessary for working at any adult-use or medical cannabis dispensary.
The process is stringent. As per the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, those applying for an Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensing Agent ID card need to undergo a fingerprint-based criminal record check. The IDFPR adheres to all regulations related to these checks and mandates that fingerprint providers verify the applicant’s identity. For those seeking licensure in Illinois, an identity verification form is essential. The chosen fingerprint provider, whether from Illinois or out-of-state, must provide written confirmation that the applicant presented a valid government-issued driver’s license or state ID, and that the ID truly belongs to the person being fingerprinted.
Every owner, manager, employee, and agent involved in the sale or management of cannabis or any cannabis-infused product, as mandated by the state’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

The training should be finished either before or within ninety (90) days after starting work at a dispensary. Any training outside this time frame won’t fulfill the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act’s requirements. How frequently is the Responsible Vendor training necessary?

Once a year. The two-hour Responsible Vendor session is part of the eight hours of annual training set by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Once a year. The two-hour Responsible Vendor session is part of the eight hours of annual training set by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

The training encompasses a broad range of subjects, including:

  • Laws about Driving Under the Influence
  • Restrictions on Cannabis Sales to Minors
  • Employee Health & Safety Protocols
  • Standards for Cannabis Dispensary Worker Safety
  • Security Measures and Surveillance Guidelines
  • Record Maintenance and Consumer Data Management
  • Compliance with Inventory Tracking and “Seed-to-Sale” Rules

Additionally, it covers:

  • Privacy Rights of Customers & Patients
  • Best Practices for Cannabis Storage
  • Recognized Forms of ID
  • Pertinent Laws & Regulations in Illinois
  • Procedures for Licensing & Enforcement Inspections
  • Proper Handling and Disposal of Cannabis Waste
  • Standards for Cannabis Packaging and Labeling
Absolutely. However, it should align with the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The training should encompass: Using the Point-of-Sale (POS) System & State Verification System Handling Inventory and Tracking Products Specific Applications of Cannabis or its Infused Products Preparing for Regulatory Inspections & Interacting with Law Enforcement Staying Updated with Legal Requirements for Agent Status The organization should keep records of all training sessions, which the IDFPR can inspect. Every agent should receive at least eight hours of training annually.
Certainly. For instance, our Responsible Vendor Certification spans two hours, meaning the IDFPR mandates an additional six hours of training annually. Regardless, dispensary agents, principal officers, and agents-in-charge should undergo further training on:
  • Operating the POS System & State Verification System
  • Managing Inventory and Product Tracking
  • Specific Cannabis or Cannabis-Infused Product Uses
  • Preparing for Regulatory Checks & Law Enforcement Engagement
  • Legal Obligations for Retaining Agent Status
Indeed. All Principal Officers should complete the eight-hour training as specified in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. However, only agents need the Responsible Vendor compliance training if they handle cannabis.

Yes, but only if the secondary location is wholly owned by the same entity as the medical cannabis dispensary where the agent is employed. The IDFPR mandates that an agent needs just one card for the same employer, irrespective of the type of dispensing license the employer possesses.

No. An agent-in-charge should be a dedicated employee of a single retail dispensary. However, the lead agent of a Medical Cannabis Dispensary can also head an Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary at the same location.
Absolutely. Agents holding Medical Cannabis Dispensary Agent ID Cards can always assist customers at an Adult Use Dispensary License site, provided it’s at the same location as their medical cannabis dispensary, as permitted by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
No. The term “dispensing organization” in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act pertains only to dispensaries with identical site licenses or adult-use dispensary licenses. It doesn’t include medical cannabis dispensaries without the same site license from the IDFPR. Hence, a medical cannabis dispensary without this license isn’t considered a “dispensing organization” and doesn’t allow the licensing of individuals to work there.
Our Mission

We’re Green CulturED & we’re on a mission. It’s simple, but a VERY powerful mission: We will train 1,000,000+ individuals over the next five (5) years on everything there’s to know about cannabis that’ll ensure regulatory compliance, reduce risk & increase profitability.

If we achieve this mission, we will create 100’s of 1,000’s opportunities for individuals that will add BILLIONS to the global economy. That’s a big deal! It’s an important mission & we’re “radically committed” since we believe it will change the world, yet we need help.

Why? We do this because we believe this industry is the most challenging, interesting & rewarding field there is. And finally, we do it for YOU. In the end, it’s our community that matters. We do our best  learning together so… if you share our vision, let’s get started!