Guest Post: Cannabis Working Conditions Vary, Need Better Controls

By Edmonde Franco

Guest Editorial

WASHINGTON: I remember sitting on my living room floor smoking a joint with friends while watching Saturday Night Live. Laraine Newman was doing an ad for the American Dope Growers Union. We laughed so hard tears were running down our cheeks.

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It was April 1977. Looking back on it now maybe it isn’t so funny after all. Maybe it is an idea whose time has come.

One evening I was talking with friends about the possibilities of investing in the new cannabis industry. We wondered if it would be a good bet for the future, since the clone to customer chain seemed to be where the real money was to be made.

So I took a job at a Washington State producer/processor. No better way to see and learn an
industry than from the bottom up.

I lasted less than a month. Not because the job was hard but because I was asked to work in a closed room with an non-ventilated propane heater. Carbon monoxide poisoning is not on my list of ways I want to die.

When my concerns were brushed aside I quit. I wasn’t there because I needed a job. I could easily walk away.

Sadly that is not the case for the many people still out there working in conditions just like that.  “Just go outside if you start to feel dizzy” is not the proper way to handle the situation.

Recent articles on pesticides found on retail samples of cannabis raise a larger question for me.   Do you think the worker who was told to spray that pesticide was wearing anything more than a paper mask? Was he wearing even that?

I began to wonder if what I was seeing was typical of the industry so I talked to other workers from producer/processors around the state. I was not surprised to find conditions ran the full gamut from serious laboratory conditions to down right sweat shops.  Most seem to fall somewhere in between.

I did hear a fair number of people who complained about problems with getting paid. Some had to wait past scheduled paydays for their checks and a number complained of checks bouncing but eventually getting paid.

I did notice a large number of people were hired as contract agricultural workers, not as employees.   This leaves the worker open to paying their own taxes and payments. It also gives them none of the protections given to employees.

Cannabis Employers Seek Workers Of Weed At Seattle Job Fair Sat, Sept 27th

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of job seekers will join dozens of employers as the first crop of Washington’s legal cannabis businesses go to market at “Job Fair Seattle,” presented by the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and cannabis industry job board Weedhire.com.

“More than 70% of Washington’s legal marijuana businesses are planning to hire, according to our MJ Research report,” said David Rheins, MJBA CEO and founder.  “The new industry is predicted to create more than 35,000 new high paying jobs in the next year — agricultural jobs, retail jobs, warehousing and transportation jobs, sales jobs, security, legal, accounting and technology.  The Green Rush is expected to reinvigorate communities around the state.”

Vendors at the industry event will include many of Washington State’s top employers who are actively seeking to fill immediate openings in the fast-growing recreational  marijuana, medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries.

“Bring your resume — or better yet, sign up for a free Weedhire.com profile —  and come for a full day of job hunting tools, tips. training, and  face-to-face time with employers seeking to fill immediate openings,” said David Bernstein, CEO of Weedhire.com

“We are very excited to be a Founding Corporate Member of the MJBA and to work with the “chamber of commerce of cannabis” to sponsors these events as an onramp for anyone interested in working in the legal marijuana industry,”  Bernstein said.

When: September 27th, 2014

Where: Red Lion Hotel, 11211 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004

Who Should Attend: Cannabis Industry Employers, Recruiters, and Job Seekers

Advanced Admission: $20; $25 Day of Show

HIGH PAYING JOBS in WASHINGTON’S LEGAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRY. GREEN RUSH starts here

These People Left Respectable Corporate Jobs To Work In The Booming Marijuana Industry

COLORADO:  In late 2010, Derek Peterson was fired from his job as a vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he had been managing a $100 million fund.

But instead of looking for another job on Wall Street, Peterson decided to dive head first into the marijuana industry side project that had gotten him fired in the first place.

Nearly four years later, he says it’s working out.

By operating his own dispensary in northern California and selling hydroponic equipment to marijuana growers as CEO of his company Terra Tech, Peterson says he’s helping people get a product that actually makes their lives better, a feeling he didn’t necessarily have during his time on Wall Street.

 

U.S. Startups Jumping Headfirst Into The Marijuana Industry

WASHINGTON: The next great American gold rush is upon us. Vast, open land awaits the right eager businessperson to stake out their plot of land. This time, the gold is green — and the products include plastic baggies, vaporizers and mobile apps.

Yes. The marijuana industry is where the opportunities are. (More coverage of the emerging industry from AOL Jobs contributor David Rheins.)

Those getting into the marijuana industry today are getting a leg up on the growing wave of competition. The New York Times recently covered the industry that is now receiving financial backing from several networks of investors that are ready to plunge millions into the industry. A concurrent Times editorial series called for the legalization of marijuana.

At this point, the widespread legalization of marijuana looks now to be more of a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. Personal convictions aside, the numbers don’t lie. Debates can arise over whether Colorado’s decline in highway fatalities is enough to outweigh the bump in pot DUI arrests in legalized states. However, there is no debate when it comes to facts and figures; Americans love their marijuana.

Careers in Cannabis: MJ Headline News Editor Talks Jobs With AOL

Take a 30-minute break to put some power behind your job search and go for the green! It’s AOL Jobs Week and we’ve got two special guests in our Google Hangout on Wednesday, Feb. 12, starting at 12:30 PM ET.

Laurie Petersen, editor-in-chief, AOL Jobs, will host a conversation with:

Gloria Stafford, who recently landed a new job as a residential sales account managerwith TruGreen in Colorado. Learn how she did it.

followed by:

David Rheins, an AOL Jobs contributor and founder of MJBA Publishing in Seattle. He’ll talk about how he decided to get into the cannabis industry and the outlook for green jobs.

'Undercover Boss': Donatos Owner Jane Grote Abell Fires Worker For Smoking Pot On Job

NEW YORK: Workers are also human beings and so need to unwind at some point during their day. There are of course infinite ways to blow off steam in 2013, and increasingly, turning to marijuana is becoming an acceptable option in the U.S.; last year saw the complete legalization of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington. Smoking up, however, it is still not as viable an option as having a cup of coffee. And Donatos pizza delivery driver Aaron learned this the hard way on the most recent episode of “Undercover Boss.” [Read more…]