The medical marijuana industry in Illinois is expected to get underway sometime in the next several months, prompting cultivation centers, dispensaries, and ancillary businesses to begin searching for new hires interested in getting in on the ground floor of this new market.
For some, the employment process has already begun, according to a recent report in The Chicago Tribune. Individuals with expertise in fields ranging from commercial printing to the military are finding out that their skills are not only useful, but also desperately needed in many aspects of this contemporary trade.
Representatives with the Oak Park-based PharmaCann, which will soon open two cultivation centers and a number of dispensaries, said they have been “flooded with resumes,” attracting law school graduates, scientists and people searching for an internship.
What ties all of these different applicants together, said Norah Scott, who oversees the human resources department at PharmaCann, is that most are connected to someone who has experienced the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
“About 50 percent of the people I have interviewed, maybe more, have a family member or friend with a debilitating condition,” she told Cannabis Now.
The majority of the applicants willing to take a shot on Illinois’ medical marijuana program are not at all concerned about the risk involved. The program, which was met with approval in 2013, is only set to run for four years unless state lawmakers take a serious interest in expanding it beyond 2017. Even if the legislature gives the extension a green light, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has said that he does not support prolonging the pilot plan.
“The governor believes there is a lot of time left to evaluate a pilot program, and we should not extend the program until it has been fully evaluated,” said Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly.
However, the companies the state has approved for licenses are concerned that they will not survive long enough to be evaluated. So far, only about 2,600 patients have been officially qualified to take part in the medical marijuana program, a number which business owners fear will not be enough to sustain the market.
Industry analysts have given Illinois a “C” for program stability, but an “A” rating for overall opportunity – a good enough reason for ambitious workers to give the cannabis industry some serious consideration. The latest data reveals that as many as 3,000 new jobs stand to be created as a result of Illinois medical marijuana program.
As it stands, companies are searching for cultivation technicians ($10-15 per hour), budtenders (up to $20 per hour), trimmers ($10-12 per hour), dispensary managers (up to $80,000 per year) and master growers (up to $120,000 per year).
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