Marijuana expert raises concerns about Missouri worker training

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dennis Turner could feel his anxiety escalating as he stood at the counter of a Harrisonville medical marijuana dispensary.

An employee accused him of breaking the seal on a product before buying it, which Turner insists he didn’t do.

“The manager let me have the product first, and she literally said, ‘No, you won’t get this until I’m done talking,’ and she was like she was raising her voice at me, basically she was screaming , but not screaming. ” he said.

“Yelling at me and saying I’m not doing anything but making trouble and I can’t go there anymore just pisses me off.”

Turner said he was forced to pay for the broken product. He also said one of the managers asked a security guard to escort him out of the store.

He said the incident triggered his anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“There has to be training so that they (pharmacy employees) know how to deal with people who have intellectual disabilities, who have intellectual disabilities, things like that,” Turner said.

James Yagielo is the CEO of HempStaff, a Florida company that trains marijuana dispensaries.

“Missouri, you know, they put it (exercise requirements) into their laws, and they haven’t done much since then,” Yagielo said in an interview with FOX4 on Friday.

He said Missouri had the right intention after voters approved legalizing medical marijuana nearly four years ago, but training workers currently in the industry has fallen by the wayside.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is the group charged with introducing recreational marijuana if voters pass Amendment 3 on Nov. 8.

“We require pharmacies to train their staff in certain areas, but we do not provide training,” a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services said in a statement to FOX4. “You are responsible for meeting this requirement by providing the training yourself or identifying appropriate training.”

Because the state does not train, companies like Yagielo come into play.

“It gets a little harder (in a casual market) to give them (customers) the right product,” Yagielo said.

“So training really becomes key in the recreational space, because you’ve really gotten to know your products so that you can accurately describe them to someone who doesn’t really give you all the information about why they’re there.”

Yagielo said workers already in the medical industry shouldn’t have any problems.

“But what happens with recreational use is that you get exponentially more volume, like 2, 3, 4 times more volume than the medical marijuana market,” he said. “So they have to hire a lot more people who have never worked in a pharmacy before, and that can get a bit hectic.”

Yagielo said if a dispensary isn’t adequately staffed and trained by the time recreational marijuana is legalized, it risks losing customers.

“In a recreational market, it often floods so quickly that training kind of falls by the wayside, and then they get complaints, people start saying, ‘Oh, this dispensary isn’t very good,’ and in the long run it hurts theirs.” business instead of helping him.”

The Health Department spokeswoman told us last week that the earliest you could buy recreational marijuana would be February, if Amendment 3 is passed.

Turner said he’s grateful for the opportunity to use medical marijuana and hopes dispensaries train staff extensively to prepare for a potential recreational market.

“Just take care of it,” he said. “Have compassion.”

“You’re in an industry that needs compassion.”

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/marijuana-expert-raises-concerns-about-worker-training-in-missouri/ Marijuana expert raises concerns about Missouri worker training

Sarah Y. Kim

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