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Not your average job fair: Hopeful medical marijuana licensees seek prospective employees

Posted: 1:30 PM, Nov 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-12 20:01:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Anyone interested in a career in the medical cannabis industry has the opportunity to check out a job fair in North Kansas City Tuesday night.

The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association is holding the fair, during which prospective business owners can set up booths and talk to potential employees.

November is a big month for the industry for job fairs and conventions. After applicants find out if they are granted a license to grow, manufacture, or distribute medical marijuana, they will need to fill positions as fast as they can, ideally by January.

The state will announce which applicants are granted a license by Dec. 31.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 jobs are coming to Missouri, ranging from working retail in a dispensary, to horticulturalists in cultivation facilities.

"We would expect more than a $100 million in sales potentially here in a couple years, something that's going to generate a lot of revenue and going to create lots of jobs," said Jack Cardettie, spokesperson for the MoCannTrade Association.

The state allows 24 dispensaries per congressional district. With eight districts in the state, 192 dispensaries are expected to pop up. Three congressional districts fall in the Kansas City metro. Each dispensary will need its own team of people.

The state will grant 86 licenses for infused-product manufacturing facilities, and 60 licenses for cultivation facilities. It will also allot for 10 testing labs.

"People who have a horticulture background, agriculture background -- those are very high-end jobs. A lot of your lead growers at cultivation facilities, they make six figures a year," Cardetti said.

The jobs also require people with retail and healthcare experience.

"Then you're reaching out to your 'bud-tenders,' or your cashier in a traditional business, and then your inventory manager and general mangers. Then depending on licensing and cultivation, you have your agriculture workers come into play," said John Mueller, CEO of Greenlight Dispensaries.

The University of Missouri graduate said he sold his cannabis company in Las Vegas to industry giant CuraLeaf. He moved back to Missouri and submitted 11 applications, the maximum amount.

"Come Jan. 1, when someone has a license in their hand, one of the first things they're going to do is start to build their workforce and start to hire employees," Cardetti said.

Mueller is taking his experiences from Vegas and applying them here. The first item on the list is education.

"Compliance, compliance, compliance. And making sure the patients are safe and when you walk in the door we're able to educate the patient on how they deal with their ailment," Mueller said, describing areas of focus.

Mueller said he employed multiple efforts to take away the "scary" factor of marijuana, including holding music events and seminars at his dispensaries. He said he also helped start the first cannabis farmers market in the country, and put a glass window in his facilities so people could see workers making edibles, processing oil to make vape pens, and even rolling joints.

The Cannabis Industry Showcase is coming to Kansas City, Missouri, starting Nov. 20. National speakers and officials from the state's Department of Health and Senior Services will talk about the latest in the roll-out of the medical marijuana industry in Missouri.

Kansas City Cannabis Week also runs from Nov. 20 through Nov. 25.

MoCannTrade held a job fair Monday in Springfield, Missouri and has planned another on Wednesday in St. Louis.