New Program Similar to Ontario’s Smart Serve for Alcohol; Promotes Responsible Cannabis Sales

Ontario's CannSell program for retail employees to promote responsible cannabis sales.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that employees, managers, and owners will require CannSell certification. The new online program features four hours of responsible cannabis training.

The AGCO, the regulating body of cannabis retail stores in Ontario, said that CanSell certification will be the sole certification program in the province. The program is similar to the Smart Serve Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training Program required by all Ontario wait staff and Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) employees.

The self-guided program was co-developed by MADD Canada and Lift & Co. MADD CEO Andrew Murie said that the program focuses on responsible cannabis sales.

“The drug presence in (road) fatalities is three times what it is for alcohol,” Murie said. “We’ve done an amazing job on alcohol… but we still haven’t had the same rigour around cannabis.”

Like Smart Serve, CannSell certification will cover the legal aspects of responsible cannabis sales, especially around selling to minors and those who may be already impaired.

“If you train people to know their jobs so they don’t serve minors, they don’t serve intoxicated people, that lowers the incidence of potential impaired driving,” he said.

Programs similar to CannSell certification are already offered in Nova Scotia, PEI (which leads the country in legalized cannabis sales)  and by individual cannabis retail stores across the country, the report adds.

CannSell Certification Teaches the Basics of Responsible Cannabis Sales

According to the certification website:

“CannSell is the only training program approved for cannabis retailers in Ontario. Ontario law requires that all employees of cannabis retail stores, store managers and cannabis retail licence holders must complete the CanSell certification before their first day of work.”

Ontario previously announced that it will award 25 cannabis retail licences to start. According to the CannSell website, all managers and employees will have to be certified before opening. Participants must score 80 per cent or higher in the online test to receive CannSell certification.

It’s unclear whether or not the owners will pay for employees’ CannSell certification. However, most with Smart Serve pay for the course themselves, which likely will be the case with CannSell certification. Cost is $49.99 plus tax.

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  1. Candice

    Hello where can I apply to the can sell course?

  2. Zyn

    I don’t think this comes as a shock to anyone as this was supposed to be a part of the legalization process. This will allow the government to keep a check on everyone operating here.

    1. LPC News Editor Listing Owner

      Yes, it follows so closely to the SmartServe program, it’s almost a no-brainer. Programs like this can help reduce problems. Argueably, that’s more important for alcohol use, but it’s still good to have trained people looking out for the cannabis customer, too.

    1. LPC News Editor Listing Owner

      Hi Lisa,

      The “Standard” certification is only $49 — that’s what employees/owners/managers need to be able to sell at a retail store. SmartServe costs around $35, so it’s not too far off.

      The “Expert” Certification is the expensive one. I don’t know all the details on that one, but a quick peruse of the course outline shows that this might be closer to a wine sommelier-type course. Is it worth it? It would be interesting to hear from people who have taken it what they thought of the program.