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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Will Work For Weed

WASHINGTON: Start practicing your elevator pitch — the 60-second speech to land you a dream job in the cannabis industry.

The Marijuana Business Association is hosting a job fair and networking event featuring up to 50 cannabis employers and keynote speakers from across the state. Spokane is host to the third MJBA job fair to date. MJBA co-founder David Rheins says upward of 100 jobs were filled at last year’s job fair in Bellevue.

“You can’t find a cannabis job on Craiglist or Monster.com,” he says. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to meet this many employers who are hiring in one room.”

So bring your résumé.

Employers including BioTrackTHC, Triple T Farms, Blue Roots Cannabis and the Walla Walla Cannabis Company will be on hand, alongside speakers like Eden Labs CEO AC Braddock, who will address cannabis business models and the gender pay gap. Both skilled and unskilled workers in industries as varied as web design and agriculture are encouraged to attend.

“This green rush is unlike other economic booms,” Rheins says. “There are more opportunities in this new market, and employers are looking for workers across the spectrum — from insurance salesmen, to growers, to bankers, to security guards.”

MJBA is a Seattle-based trade organization founded in 2012. The organization is 420 businesses strong, with chapters across Washington, Colorado and Oregon. MJBA provides networking and business platforms for the recreational marijuana industry, with sponsored banking seminars, meetups and job fairs.

“We have a very mature cannabist culture, but an underserviced industry that doesn’t have the tools to function,” Rheins says. “When voters approved the commercialization of cannabis, it didn’t provide a framework for real estate, or insurance, or the very basic business principals that this emerging industry needs to flourish under such scrutiny.”

The association essentially teaches “Business 101” to the hundreds of mom-and-pop stores that have opened since I-502 passed. The job fairs aim to not only highlight, but normalize professional trades in the marijuana industry, and bring together the once-underground community.

“Our disadvantage — our lack of infrastructure — is also our biggest advantage,” Rheins says. “We can build a more intentional market.” ♦

Spokane Cannabis Job Fair • Sat, June 20, from 10 am-4:20 pm • Free • 21+ • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • mjba.net • (425) 892-9221