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Month: September 2018

Implementation and Effectiveness of an Online Responsible Vendor Training Program for Recreational Marijuana Stores

Implementation and Effectiveness of an Online Responsible Vendor Training Program for Recreational Marijuana Stores

Since 2012, nine U.S. States and the District of Columbia (DC) have legalized recreational marijuana, and several other states are looking to follow suit in coming years. At the outset of the legalization of recreational marijuana, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) informed these states that they must put robust constraints into place that prevent youth access to marijuana. To accomplish this DOJ objective, Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel (KB), and their co-authors created Train To Tend, an online responsible marijuana vendor (RMV) training program that aims to provide retail marijuana staff with the knowledge and skills they need in order to sell marijuana responsibly, and keep their communities safe. In a recent e-publication in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, the authors report the results of the implementation and evaluation of Train To Tend and what these results could mean for future research and policy.

Train To Tend was created with input from state regulators and local law enforcement personnel, curriculum standards published by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, 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. Of all the input from these various stakeholders, retail marijuana store personnel reported that comprehensive training in responsible sales practices was uncommon in the industry. Coupled with the DOJ objective of preventing youth access to marijuana, this finding demonstrated a need for RMV.

Once all stakeholder input was reviewed, Train To Tend was created, and the training ultimately contained five modules: state laws and regulations, ID checking, health effects of marijuana, customer service practices including recognizing intoxicated patrons, and rules of the trade.

In a randomized controlled trial, the training was tested using a random sample of state-licensed recreational marijuana stores (n=225) in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. One hundred twenty-five stores were randomly selected to receive Train To Tend, while the remaining 100 stores received the usual and customary training in their state. In total, 420 store employees completed Train To Tend in 2017 and 2018. Pre- and post-training surveys were administered to Train To Tend trainees to gauge their perceptions of self-efficacy toward RMV practices, as well as their ratings of usability for Train To Tend.

Results revealed that the training improved trainees’ ability to check IDs, use their state’s inventory tracking system, and spot intoxicated customers. Also, most trainees felt very confident using the training, rated the training as user-friendly, and thought that the information and skills learned in the training would help keep their communities safe.

Overall, trainees’ improvement in confidence to engage in responsible sales practices, as well as the high levels of usability for Train To Tend they reported, suggests that programs like Train To Tend are feasible and potentially effective at training staff in recreational marijuana markets. In addition, this randomized-controlled trial provides a solid foundation upon which future research into RMV trainings can be built. This type of research is imperative to ensure the safety of customers that live in early-adopting recreational marijuana markets like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. By conducting research like this when recreational marijuana legalization is in its early stages, many unforeseen problems can be mitigated before they grow too large, and ultimately the public can be kept safer.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (DA038933; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Coauthors include Dr. Gill Woodall, Mr. Andy Grayson, and Ms. Mary Buller from KB, and Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Way to Serve Tops 75,000 Trainings

Way to Serve Tops 75,000 Trainings

WayToServe®an evidence-based online responsible alcohol server training program, has achieved a significant milestone by surpassing 75,000 completed trainings. The program, developed by scientists at Klein Buendel, Inc. (KB), the University of New Mexico (UNM), and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, was initially evaluated in a controlled randomized trial that resulted in increased refusal of sales to intoxicated patrons. WayToServe® was then transferred from its research phase to commercialization in 2012. It was licensed to Wedge Communications LLC for marketing and distribution initially in New Mexico for training of on- and off-site alcohol servers.

Additional state-specific versions of WayToServe® have been created that conform to the Responsible Beverage Service curriculum requirements of the State of California, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Washington State Liquor Control Board, and Oregon Liquor Control Commission. WayToServe® is now sold in California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. The Spanish version, WayToServe Español, is scheduled to be tested in New Mexico and Texas later this year.

Commenting on the milestone achievement, Dr. David Buller, KB Director of Research and WayToServe® Co-Investigator, said “Plans are underway to refresh the entire online training for the next 75,000 servers to learn to sell alcohol responsibly and keep their customers and communities safe.”

The creation and evaluation of the original WayToServe® program was sponsored by two grants from National Institutes of Health to UNM (Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). The WayToServe Español research project is being funded by a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to KB from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (R44MD010405; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, KB Senior Scientist, Principal Investigator).

Sun Safety Curriculum for Grades K-5 is Now Free for Schools

Sun Safety Curriculum for Grades K-5 is Now Free for Schools

Sunny Days Healthy Ways, an evidence-based sun safety curriculum that provides sun protection education for grades K-5, is now available free online by its authors at Klein Buendel, Inc. Schools can use the curriculum to fulfill the school-based goals of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.

“I was inspired to remove any barriers to schools having access to the curriculum by previous Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak’s impassioned presentation at the 4th Annual Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention,” explained Mary Buller, President of Klein Buendel.

Sunny Days Healthy Ways provides an average of 15 lessons per grade, that teachers can tailor to their timeframe and needs. Prepared lesson plans, student activity sheets, storybooks, learning objectives, and common core standards minimize prep time and make teaching students about sun safety easy. Project-based learning and technology connections make it fun.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and is increasing at an alarming rate. Even though skin cancer occurs mainly in adults, much of the damage was likely done during childhood. Long periods of unprotected sun exposure and severe sunburning as a child can lead to skin cancer and eye damage later in life. Good health habits started in childhood are more likely to last a lifetime.

Sunny Days Healthy Ways was first created and evaluated with research grants from the National Cancer Institute (CA62968 & CA23074) and the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission (9403). To access the free curriculum, visit the Sunny Days Healthy Ways website at https://www.sdhw.info/.