🍃 AMA with Paul Edwards CEO of Cedr HR Solutions Wed April 10th 11 AM PST



Paul Edwards is the CEO and co-founder of CEDR HR Solutions, a leading provider of on-demand HR support for healthcare practices of all sizes and specialties across the United States.

With over 25 years of experience as a manager and business owner, Paul is well-known throughout the healthcare community for his expertise when it comes to solving HR issues that impact owners and managers. He specializes in training owners and managers to successfully handle employee issues and safely navigate the complex and ever-changing employment law landscape through his company’s customized employee handbooks and support center.

Paul is the author of HR Base Camp, a blog and podcast channel. He also regularly speaks at seminars, conferences and CE courses across the country.

Compliance: It’s an HR Issue

An All-in-One HR Solution for the Cannabis Industry

Running a grow operation comes with a lot of moving parts. As a cultivator, you face a unique set of standards in addition to the typical state and federal employment laws. You need an experienced and specialized HR partner who understands the specific HR needs of your agriculture-based industry.

Imagine being able to focus on your business without worrying about your HR. CEDR works with you to stay legally compliant and to build a better workplace. We offer a total HR compliance solution, complete with a custom-crafted employee handbook that addresses the unique labor laws applicable to agricultural employees like yours. We offer personal one-on-one guidance to help you and your managers make better, more compliant decisions. And our software package makes HR more organized, so you can focus on growing your business.



Howdy, everyone, and thank you for being with us today for another edition of our GN AMA. Thanks to @hrpaul for being our expert host on the matters of handbooks and human resources. This is a topic fairly new to our forum, so let’s make it a great one!

I’ll fire this off by simply asking our @memberdirectory a question and please take the poll below and give us a little feedback on this:

Does your canna-business have an Employee Handbook?

  • My business has an Employee Handbook
  • My business does NOT have an Employee Handbook

0 voters



We’re in the licensing process. Intend top have a comprehensive handbook. Interested to hear recommendations on having one developed versus developing one ourselves.

We don’t believe in buying cookie cutter products… We wrote putt own SOPs, our own application, business plan, and proposal to our city.

That said, we’re not HR pros so I’d be curious to get suggestions or perhaps identify a good, customizable, state-specific template.



@hrpaul thanks again for being with us today. Why is it so important for a cannabis business to have an employee handbook?



Happy to be here!



It’s pretty simple. The rules and the laws that exist to protect your employees in a passive way. Your employees are always protected under the umbrella of those rules. But this is not always the case for employers. In most instances, unless the employer has properly communicated specific policies to employees, the employer loses all of the protections afforded to them as well. Going without one is not a great idea. Likewise, if yours is not great, it cna leave you out in the cold

Cannabiz is the most heavily regulated industry out there. I know everyone here can relate with the idea that if the law exists, you need to know about and comply with it.



Sexual harassment, wage claims, safety issues - are all examples where policies can protect you



In most states, as an employers there about 150 laws that affect you



Can you provide some examples you have seen issues or litigation in the past with cannabis clients who did not have handbooks or SOP’s in place?



Great question. First lets start with the common sources.
Attorney generated
Given to you as part of your payroll or some other service.



I can… The most common error is lack of understanding about wage and hour. In these cases the businesses have employees misclassified as independent contractors. Managers, growers, all workers who are doing the work of your business are employees. Not IC’s



Another one is not understanding the interactive process when it comes to work related complaints about things like harassment. We watched an Oregon dispensary implode over a simple harassment complaint. Lost 250k. They had a lawyer who did not understand that At Will employment is not a magic wand at first.



Hi @hrpaul, thank you for hosting the AMA today!

With so many star-up companies in our industry, how many employees should they have before they start considering HR handbooks?

Thanks in advance for your answer!



LandDragonI’m just going to be blunt.The expertise needed to custom craft an employee handbook, which protects you and is a great HR tool, includes skills that most entrepreneurs, owners, managers, and yes, even attorneys…. Don’t possess. Its not that managers don’t know what they need when it comes to running the business. It is not that Lawyers can’t get all the policies in your book absolutely correct. Its that a well-made book requires extensive knowledge about both your business and its operations and all those laws be brought together.



@ LandDragon IN our model we craft and customize it with you. It’s a cool process which allows for a bunch of knowledge exchange. You get exactly what you need. No template.



How does you company manage to navigate the difficult legal structures of the cannabis laws in a given jurisdiction and synthesize it with the corporate practices of a company? The complexity of that sounds mind-boggling!

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I’d also like to differentiate between handbook and SOP’s.

They are Not the same although an employee manual/handbook may contain an SOP. For example, A Standard Operating Procedure may be included in a policy which requires the employee to report an injury, safety concern, harassment, a Hipaa breach, or perhaps theft or some other concern.

A set if SOPs tend to mirror how the business will operate. An employee handbook is based in policy and serves a different and very important purpose. Sop’s need to be changed often. As your business grows or changes, how you do things is going to change too. Employee handbooks have far less need for change so long as they have been properly created in the first place. Changes primarily occur when laws change or get added in your state or at the federal level. They can also change as you add more employees.



We have a ton of experience bringing all of those things together. When I created this company some 12 years ago I recognized that in order to effective at helping people through their HR issues, I would need to know the industry as well. We already know all of the laws in every state and city. We have our own database of the rules and regulations. But more importunately, when you see the set of job descriptions we’ve put together for Cannabis you will see that we’ve gone to great links to study and understand your industry. But there is more…



HR seems like an all-encompassing term that is used in a lot of scenarios, but workers often associate it with complaints and payroll…Can you give us a good working definition of “Human Resources”?

Your company, Cedr Solutions, has extensive experience in establishing company handbooks. How did you get into the human resources field and what made you want to venture into the cannabis industry?

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Our model includes support. So what that means is for the last three eyars our Cannabis related busineses have been calling in on a regular basis for HR support, guidance and coaching. And guess what, you guys are not the same as other industries. There are some things that all employers share when it comes to HR but your industry (growers, extractors, dispensaries) all have unique Hr issues. We learn from those calls.