Spokane’s First Cannabis Job Fair Draws Huge Crowds

WASHINGTON: Nearly 900 eager job seekers turned out for Spokane’s first ever cannabis job fair this past weekend, many of them lining up as early as 7:30 to drop their resumes off and meet some of eastern Washington’s leading cannabis industry employers.

Organized by the Marijuana Business Association, and presented by Washington NORML and the Islander, MJBA Job Fair Spokane was held at the Spokane Convention Center and featured employers and exhibitors included leading cultivators Washington’s Finest Cannabis, Blue Roots Cannabis, Triple T Farms, Kush Comfort Farms, and Buddy Boy, who were looking for trimmers and agricultural help; leading cannabis brands including Evergreen Herbal, Cannabis Training Institute, 420MEDIA, Analytically Correct, Mosaic Insurance, PayQwick, BioTrackTHC, Miller Soils, WeedTraQR, and Dope Magazine.

The Inlander publisher Ted McGregor delivered the keynote address, using the occasion to look back on the first year of Washington legal cannabis (the state’s first recreational shops opened on July 8, 2014).  Ted gave a shout out to Spokane resident Mike Boyer, the first recreational pot consumer in the state who subsequently lost his job after a workplace drug test confirm his legal consumption, who was in attendance at the fair optimistically seeking employment opportunities.  He drew parallels between the end of alcohol prohibition and today’s unravelling of the failed war on drugs.

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Business Intelligence expert Joe Armes, Analytically Correct, preceded the keynote, and delivered the MJ Research Jobs Report in which Analytically Correct estimates WA State recreation cannabis direct industry jobs to be 3,000 – 4,000 by the end of 2015 and 5,000 – 6,000 by the end of 2016.

MJ Research Jobs Report

MJ Research Jobs Report

420MEDIA and Kerri Accardi were in the house, hosting an open casting call for their upcoming web series, Hmm…Did You know.   A panel of cannabis cultivators from Washington’s Finest Cannabis, Farmer Tom Organics, Kush Comfort Farms talked about careers as a pot farmer.  Other featured speakers included Luc Nelson, Cannabis Training Institute; Kevin Oliver, Washington NORML; Melissa Braddock, Eden Labs; Norm Ives, Mosaic Insurance; Dan McMahon, BioTrackTHC, Aubrey Armes, Analytically Correct HR; Eric Ogden, WeedTraQR; Isaac Curtis, UFCW; Crystal Oliver, Washington’s Finest Cannabis; Terry Polyak, PayQwick; Kerri Accardi, 420MEDIA; Heather Gehrman, Evergreen Herbal; and Jon Hofer, RMMC Consulting.

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Managing HR For Your Cannabis Industry Business

By Aubrey Armes

WASHINGTON: These are exciting and turbulent times in the cannabis industry.  With more and more states legalizing cannabis, the possibility and potential for business growth just keeps getting bigger.  Whether you are in the industry because you are a passionate activist, you simply see dollar signs or anywhere in between, it doesn’t change the fact that the cannabis industry is a target for scrutiny.

Unless you have training in Human Resources, there’s a good chance you are in violation of some employment law(s) and are risking the financial well-being of your company.

Employees are both your greatest asset and your greatest pain.  Sourcing and retaining talented staff who are passionate about your mission is vital to your success.

I’ve heard countless stories of employees embellishing or flat out lying about their skills and previous work experience.  Not only is this annoying and a complete waste of time, it also opens up potential financial risk.

Jobseekers:  Don’t lie.  Really.  You are more likely to have a career in cannabis if you are honest about your skills than if you lie.  Plenty of employers are willing to train staff if they have an aptitude for learning and a personality that matches the company culture.  Nothing will save your job if you lie about your experiences.

Employers: Do you have clear written job descriptions that are ADA compliant so you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the employee knew what was expected of her/him?  Do you have copies of your interview questions and answers that prove that you asked all the proper questions and the employee misrepresented their talent?  Are you retaining these interview notes for the appropriate period of time?  Are you clearly outlining your company culture that addresses employee expectations, team work, your mission, etc?

Do you absolutely need to have all of this?  No.  Will it save you immense amount of time and money?  Yep.

Are you able to fire the employee that lied or misrepresented themselves?  The real question is: can you prove it?

The burden of proof lies on the employer, not the employee.  At the very least, you will incur Unemployment Benefits cost.  For businesses operating on a start-up shoe string budget, paying unnecessary Unemployment Benefits due to lack of documentation or poor hiring and on-boarding practices can have a huge impact and is certainly worth avoiding.

All it takes is one pissed-off employee to make your life miserable and jeopardize your business that you’ve worked so hard for.

Let trained professionals assist you in creating best practices that will reduce your risks, keep your business in compliance and save you time and money.

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Aubrey is the Director of HR Services for Analytically Correct and is a certified Professional Human Resources consultant with over 15 years of human resources and leadership development experience, specializing in fast-past small and medium sized businesses including start-ups and established businesses.  Her passion lies in helping organizations identify and communicate their company culture, leadership training and development and keeping companies in compliance and out of trouble.  Aubrey can be reached at aubrey@analyticallycorrect.com.