Marijuana-related companies are hiring in fields from plant-tending to administration. Most Ohio jobs, right now, are in dispensaries and in cultivation. But that’s going to change.
Robin Ann Morris, CEO of MaryJane Agency in Sandusky, says her company has collected more than 500 resumes and video interviews throughout the state in the past year.
“My advice is to take what you love and apply that skill to the cannabis industry,” said Morris. “We‘re just waiting for more ancillary businesses to be formed so we can hire people in areas ranging from management, marketing, accounting and sales to chefs and security. It’s a parallel industry to corporate America. We’re going to need investors, educators, consultants, sales and marketing.”
Erik Vaughan was one of four employees at northwest Ohio’s Standard Wellness Co. just six months ago. Now with 45 employees, the company is moving forward with plans to cultivate, process and sell medical marijuana.
Standard Wellness is one example of many rapidly growing companies in the industry that need to fill job openings in Ohio.
“We had to go out of state to find specialists and managers for our cultivation business. With our state-of-the art facility here in Gibsonburg (near Sandusky), it was an easy sell to get people to move from Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Mexico,” Vaughan said. “We have a large-scale commercial business, and we needed to hire them so that they could pass on knowledge to other employees. It’s an exciting time.”
But Standard Wellness, which plans to double its number of employees in the next 12 to 18 months, isn’t the only one facing the hiring need. Industry insiders say there just aren’t enough people with marijuana experience, so they are recruiting from other fields and training them.
Nationwide, marijuana-related job openings rose 76 percent from December 2017 to December 2018, with 1,512 open roles posted in that final month of 2018 alone, according to Glassdoor. Back in 2017, that number was only 858. Jobs in cultivation, extraction, retail and ancillary businesses have salaries that range from $22,000 to $300,000.
Direct experience not required
Do a quick online search for the term medical marijuana and a mix of job openings pops up, some of which ban employment if the candidate had previously used marijuana, others in the field don’t care. It depends on the job and the company.
Brandon Lynaugh, a spokesman for Standard Wellness, said his company seeks the best job candidates like any other industry.
“We’re similar to any other industry with the due diligence we do with potential new hires, but we DO NOT discriminate against cannabis users,” Lynaugh said.
Ohio Marijuana Card, a company that connects patients with state-certified doctors who help patients get approved for medical marijuana use, is also growing. So far, the company has seven locations with three more expected to open in the next six weeks in Athens, Youngstown and Beachwood.
“We‘ve hired 15 people in the last month and we are at over 75 for the entire organization,” said Connor Shore, president. “Most are clinic staff and patient support staff, people who work in the clinics and at call centers. We’re interviewing for HR and finance positions right now.
“Like myself, I’m sure that other companies hire people who have a passion for cannabis or a connection, such as a family member who benefitted and it helped their quality of life,” Shore said. “It helps to create a more engaged work environment when everyone has shared values, working toward a common goal.”
Get connected, learn
Growth in the marijuana industry is the reason that Valley View-based GIE Media recently launched a national job board.
The company has run various business-to-business trade publications for 38 years, focusing on 17 industries as diverse as pest control to horticulture and golf course superintendents. But none of those markets has grown as fast as their two newest publications aimed at the cannabis industry: Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
GIE launched its first Cannabis Conference in 2017, and the next conference aimed at cultivators and dispensary owners kicks off April 1 in Las Vegas.
“We wanted to position ourselves as a recruitment tool for our audience,” said Eric Sandy, digital editor at Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary, referring to the job board. “Prospective employees can use it too. But it’s meant for our businesses to share job listings.”
Abbey Bemis, executive director at the Erie County Economic Development Corp., said she’s excited about the new industry’s prospects.