Cannabis Companies Step Up Recruitment Efforts As Leisure Industry Prepares To Launch

Connecticut’s cannabis industry could account for more than 10,000 jobs just a few years after the recreational market launches, according to a recent study, and companies are already ramping up hiring efforts ahead of the first adult-use sales in the state. .

Cannabis employment recruiting firm CannabizTeam recently released its 2022 Tri-State Cannabis Salary Guide, outlining what new adult-use markets in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey could look like. expect as far as employment potential is concerned. The company said it expects 10,500 cannabis-related jobs in Connecticut by 2025, based on an algorithm that takes into account existing jobs, population, and estimated licensing and retail sales.

According to cannabis news site Leafly’s 2022 jobs report, the United States as a whole has approximately 428,059 marijuana-related jobs, an increase of 33% from the start of 2021. There were 149,300 cannabis-related jobs in the country in 2018.

Connecticut Cannabis Chamber of Commerce President Adam Wood says recent employment projections reflect findings from a University of Connecticut study, and he expects a hiring boom. as companies continue to outfit the facilities in preparation for sales for adult use, which are expected to begin in the coming months.

“It’s clear that the industry already contributes a lot to Connecticut’s economy through engineers, lawyers and architects, and now these companies are starting to expand and hire for themselves,” said said Wood. “It’s an exciting time for the industry.”

“Palpable Excitement”

Verano Holdings Corp., which bought medical cannabis cultivator CTPharma from Rocky Hill late last year, held a job fair in June to begin the process of recruiting its workforce.

PICTURES | YEHYUN KIM, CT MIRROR

CT Pharma employees work with cut cannabis flower. Producers like CT Pharma are adding jobs to prepare for higher production to serve the recreational market.

According to Verano Vice President of Talent Acquisition Michael Smith, the company hired at least 28 people at the event, bringing its total number of Connecticut employees to 125. He said the event was very energetic and a good example of the current “palpable excitement”. surrounding the cannabis industry that is not usually seen in entry-level jobs.

“When you look at the type of talent that we attract and bring in, you would have seen a very diverse team of people from all walks of life,” Smith said. “There are very experienced people who are just looking for a complete change, and people who have really been on the fringes of the workforce and haven’t been able to find the kind of job they’re passionate about. ”

Most of the company’s employees work in cultivation, production and growth operations, he said, where much of Verano’s local efforts have been focused so far.

The company’s Rocky Hill cultivation facility was recently approved to serve the recreational market, which means production will increase.

“Our production needs are going to increase, so I really see the need to add more people,” Smith said. “We have good space, good parking and the ability to grow in Rocky Hill.”

While the Rocky Hill grow facility currently accounts for about three-quarters of the company’s employees, more retail-related hiring can be expected.

Verano Holdings Corp. also operates the Willow Brook Wellness medical dispensary in Meriden, which has just been approved for a hybrid license. This means it can sell to both medical and recreational marijuana users.

Verano is hoping for a similar hybrid license for his Waterbury medical dispensary, Caring Nature. Earlier this year, Verano applied for a special permit to open a hybrid cannabis dispensary for adults in Newington at 2903 Berlin Turnpike, in the vacant former home of Bonefish. Grill restaurant.

Verano officials said retail employees start at $15 an hour and cultivation and processing workers earn between $15 and $17 an hour plus benefits. Smith said the company doesn’t require resumes when interviewing applicants because it focuses on learning about a candidate’s life experiences that some places underestimate.

Verano Holdings communications director Steve Mazeika said the company is also exploring equity joint venture opportunities that could add even more retail or culture locations down the line.

1,000 applications

Ben Zachs, director of operations at Connecticut-based cannabis dispensary Fine Fettle, said his company has also posted job openings.

Fine Fettle currently operates three medical dispensaries which have recently been approved to serve the adult market. He also has plans for six joint venture adult clinics and a partnership with Hartford resident Kennard Ray to open a social equity cultivator business.

As a result, Zachs said he expects Fine Fettle will need to hire at least up to 200 employees in the near future in positions throughout the supply chain, from sales to management. Between part-time and full-time jobs, Fine Fettle employees can earn anywhere from $18 an hour to $90,000 in salary, he said, plus benefits.

Zachs said Fine Fettle has received more than 1,000 applications since it began posting job openings this fall.

“Our strategy has been to post jobs and interview people to get a list of people we want to make offers to,” Zachs said. “It puts us in a position where when the state says ‘ok, go’, we can hire and train our employees. … We want to be ready.

“Industry specific knowledge”

The CT Cannabis Chamber of Commerce was formed in February to help provide a hub for cannabis-related business activity in the state. Wood said companies like CT Pharma and Fine Fettle have an advantage over their newer competitors in the state because they already have established and known businesses.

Even still, hiring the right candidate for the right position will be competitive.

“There is really industry-specific knowledge related to culture and best practices. It’s the culture, but it’s also the lighting and the technology and all those other parts,” Wood said. “These people are in high demand.”

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