5 Reasons Why Your Cannabis Enterprise Should Be Screening Employees

The cannabis industry is booming as more and more states are decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing its usage. Cannabis enterprises need to protect themselves like any other business, and that includes pre-employment screening.

Background checks for employment purposes is used to mitigate potential risks before making a hiring decision. A 2017 survey found that 85% of applicants falsify at least some part of their resume. While most may fudge a little on small items, it’s the big stuff that should be of most concern to employers, especially if your screening program isn’t comprehensive.

To ensure you’re hiring the right people for your organization, a thorough background check is a good business practice.

What is a Background Check?

In short, a background check is a comprehensive review of a person or other organization’s criminal, financial and commercial records. A background check can include education, employment, credit history, criminal records at the county state and federal levels, license history records, vendor screening, fingerprint search, motor vehicle records, references, etc.

The best way to conduct a background search is to use the services of a nationally accredited consumer reporting agency (CRA). This helps to ensure your company is compliant with FCRA regulations and limits exposing yourself or organization to potential lawsuits. CRA’s like AmericanChecked, that specialize in highly regulated industries, serve as a partner in this process, helping cannabis enterprises to protect themselves as well as their employees and customers.

Why Your Company Should Do Thorough Background Checks

The cannabis industry is like any other business except that it has the unique distinction of moving from the shadowy illegal alleyways to budding into a legal and fast-growing industry.

As cannabis proprietors shake off the stigma of reefer madness, it is important to run the business like other established industries, and that includes appropriate background checks on all employees.

If anything, there is more at stake for cannabis business owners. Without legalization at the federal level and banks being hesitant to open accounts for cannabis businesses, owners are exposed to even greater risk of loss. This is especially true for store owners and growers who not only have product readily available, but also a lot of cash.

That’s why it’s important to screen each person you bring into your organization. Here are five reasons why you should re-evaluate your screening process.

Background Checks Highlight Criminal History

One of the main reasons companies conduct employment screening is to flag an applicant’s previous criminal history. Having the knowledge of an applicant’s criminal history empowers employers to make informed decisions.

Every organization is different and so is every position. Each employer must decide what it deems acceptable for applicants and, in some cases, it may be based on role or position. For instance, in a budtender position, some minor charges on an applicant’s criminal history may be deemed acceptable but a bankruptcy filing on a candidate for a CFO or money handling position may be a red flag.

However, in order to ensure the applicant is suitable for hiring, a criminal history check needs to take place.

1. Going Beyond State Requirements

Some states with legalized cannabis have very specific rules around background screening, while others are very loose if required at all. Meeting minimum requirements may check a box but it could still leave you exposed to risk.

Some states require only a state search but that alone can leave a lot of ground uncovered. For instance, if a crime was committed in Nevada and the person moved and is now applying for a job in California, that record would not be uncovered with only a state search in California. One search cannot be relied on for a complete picture of a person’s history.

Working with an accredited CRA to build a screening program is the best way to ensure that all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed during the hiring and onboarding process.

2. Promotes Workplace Safety

Employees expect a reasonable level of workplace safety and hiring someone with a history violent crime or sex offenses could compromise that environment. Chances are that at some point you will come across an applicant that could pose a danger to your business, employees and even customers. A thorough background check is your best line of defense. Even promoting that a company runs background investigations can deter unsuitable applicants.

3. Protect Against Lawsuits

Lawsuits related to FCRA violations have skyrocketed over the past several years, constituting billions of dollars being paid out by companies. Rules and regulations around employment screening are always shifting. Using a nationally accredited CRA like AmericanChecked can help mitigate risk and exposure to lawsuits. A trustworthy screening partner can provide resources for your area and ensure reports adhere to the highest levels of compliance. A CRA can never replace the guidance of a legal expert, but they should be considered an integral partner in your overall screening program.

4. Screening Provides Peace of Mind

In the end, it all comes down to knowing you’ve got the best team in place to allow your company to thrive. Your heart and soul and sweat and tears go into building a business. Employment screening should be considered a vital step in the hiring process. Most reports take up 72-hours to complete. That’s 72-hours to peace of mind.

The Bottom Line

A screening program doesn’t have to be hard or costly. Only nationally accredited firms by the Professional Background Screening Association have gone through the arduous process to show and maintain compliance to FCRA regulations and have dedicated themselves to maintaining industry best practices.

If nothing else, a safe environment for your employees and customers and the protection of your assets should all be reasons to conduct a comprehensive background check on every applicant you’re considering bringing into your organization.