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Implementation and Effectiveness of an Online Responsible Vendor Training Program for Recreational Marijuana Stores in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State

Buller, David B., PhD; Woodall, W. Gill, PhD; Saltz, Robert, PhD; Grayson, Andrew, MA; Buller, Mary Klein, MA

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: May/June 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 238–244
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000843
Research Reports: Practice Full Report

Context: Six US states have implemented retail sales of recreational marijuana. Training in responsible sales practices has been effective in the alcohol market. An online responsible marijuana vendor (RMV) training was produced and implemented with stores in a randomized trial.

Program: An online RMV training was developed through meetings with state regulators and local law enforcement personnel, curriculum standards published by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division in May 2015, interviews with recreational marijuana store personnel (n = 15), and usability testing of a prototype training with store personnel (n = 19) in Colorado and Washington State. The training contained 5 modules: state laws and regulations, ID checking, health effects of marijuana, customer service practices including recognizing intoxicated patrons, and rules of the trade.

Implementation: A randomized controlled trial testing the training enrolled a random sample of state-licensed retail recreational marijuana stores (n = 225) in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. In total, 125 stores were randomly assigned to receive the RMV training. A total of 420 store employees completed the online training between June 2017 and February 2018 (43.5% female, 88.4% younger than 40 years, and 74.1% non-Hispanic white).

Evaluation: Responses to posttraining surveys showed that most trainees found the training user-friendly (78.4%), were satisfied (68.8%), and would recommend it to another employee (91.1%). The training improved trainees' ability to check IDs (pretraining mean = 3.91 [SD = 1.36], posttraining mean = 4.58 [SD = 0.66], t387,388 = 8.68, P < .001) and their confidence to use the state's inventory tracking system (pretraining mean = 2.52 [SD = 0.65], posttraining mean = 2.85 [SD = 0.39], t387, 388 = 10.89, P < .001) and spot intoxicated customers (pretraining mean = 2.79 [SD = 0.41], posttraining mean = 2.94 [SD = 0.25], t387,388 = 6.87, P < .001).

Discussion: Online RMV training was acceptable to retail recreational marijuana personnel and potentially improved responsible sales practices. Responsible vendor training has been successful under certain conditions in the alcohol market and should be considered for the recreational marijuana market.

Klein Buendel, Inc, Golden, Colorado (Drs Buller and Woodall, Mr Grayson and Ms Buller); and Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Oakland, California (Dr Saltz).

Correspondence: David B. Buller, PhD, Klein Buendel, Inc, 1667 Cole Blvd, Ste 225, Golden, CO 80401 (

The research reported in this article was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA038933).

Dr Buller, Dr Woodall, and Mr Grayson receive a salary from Klein Buendel, Inc. Ms Buller is an owner of Klein Buendel, Inc. For Dr Saltz, none were declared.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Trial registration ID number:, NCT03073291

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