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Classifying California Cannabis Workers

California is one of the trickiest states in the U.S. for employers, and especially for cannabis employers. The numerous, byzantine requirements here simply don’t exist in many other states. Classifying California cannabis workers is one of the biggest challenges for local industry.

Cannabis companies often think they can get around employment law requirements by calling workers “contractors” who are not entitled to the same rights and benefits. This has always been a tough sell here, and has gotten materially harder since California’s licensed cannabis regime came into full force.

In this series, we’ll explore many of the pitfalls cannabis businesses face when classifying California cannabis workers. In this first post, I want to look at the difference between employees and contractors and identify the basics for telling them apart.

Are California cannabis workers employees or independent contractors?

Over the years, our California cannabis lawyers have seen a ton of cannabis businesses assume that if they call a California cannabis worker an independent contractor, the worker magically is one. Whether this is a good idea (it’s not) is beside the point – classifying someone as an employee is very expensive! For example, according to the Department of Industrial Relations:

California’s wage

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