A recent marijuana job fair drew over 1,200 job seekers. Prospective job seekers starting showing up at 6am and by the start of the event at 11am, people were lined up for a block down the street. In what has been described as the nation’s first marijuana job fair, organizers were elated with the public response.
Tim Cullen, who operates two marijuana shops in Colorado, is one of the partners that hosted the job fair which they call CannaSearch. The job fair included 15 companies that were seeking prospective employees in the marijuana industry.
Pete Vasquez, who is general manager of Medicine Man, a marijuana dispensary in Denver, had a stack of resumes sitting in front of him. He said the turn out has been great. Shannon Foreman, the owner of HempTemps, who provide staffing for the marijuana industry, said the demand for employees is outrageous. She stated her job was to fill that need. Luke Ramirez, who owns Walking Raven Wellness Center, said his sales have increased 300 percent. He said he needs additional staff to deal with the increased revenue.
Marijuana legalization advocates have long argued that job creation would be a by-product of legalization. The job fair in Denver not only sought out job seekers with marijuana cultivation skills, but also white-collar and management positions. Tim Cullen, who represents the Colorado Harvest Company and Evergreen Apothecary, said they were seeking bookkeepers, CPAs and legal professionals.
Standing in line for hours, many of the 1,200 job seekers had high expectations of landing a job in this marijuana job fair. Nancy Lopez, 21, drove 14 hours from Bellville, Texas with anticipation of landing an entry-level position. Jack Valin, 27, who said he had a background in hospitality, has been searching for a job for six months. Shannon Irvin, who drove from St. Louis, waited in line for two hours to enter the job fair.
The marijuana industry has now seen 20 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. Many more are expected to follow, as legislation is pending in many state legislatures. The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the states of Washington and Colorado, as of the first of January this year.
Over $1 billion in marijuana sales are expected in Colorado for next fiscal year, according to the office of the governor. Lawmakers from around the country will be closely following the sales of marijuana in Colorado. Voters last November passed Amendment 64 that legalized marijuana. It imposed an a sales tax of 25 percent on the sale of marijuana. Tax collections on marijuana sales could surpass $100 million according to state budget forecasters. A large proportion of the revenue produced will be used for school construction and the funding of substance abuse programs.
The recent marijuana job fair in Denver, that drew over 1,200 prospective job seekers, is what they refer to here locally as: “Colorado’s Green Rush.” This industry provides exciting opportunities for young people, according to Michael Elliot who heads up the Marijuana Industry Group. He stated that it has been a very harsh economic decade.
By John J. Poltonowicz