By Kyle Arnold
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several marijuana business owners in Florida say a passion for smoking weed is a liability, and that a criminal record involving drugs will almost certainly disqualify most candidates for a job.
The hunt is on for budtenders, cannabis cultivators, weed botanists and dozens of other new jobs that have sprouted with Florida’s nascent medical marijuana industry.
With dispensaries scouting locations across the state and 147,000 people signed up to use the now-legalized drug, the developing industry is quickly trying to recruit thousands of workers to develop, grow and sell medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana businesses say stoners need not apply. A passion for smoking weed is a liability, and a criminal record involving drugs will almost certainly disqualify most candidates.
“We get hundreds of applications for every job opening we have,” said Michelle Terrell, spokesman for Wakefield, Mass.-based Curaleaf, which opened a dispensary in south Orlando in early August. “And maybe only 10 percent of those are qualified and meet the legal requirements.”
It’s a high-stakes business, where companies are fighting to establish an early market share, state regulators are strict and most transactions are handled in cash, meaning dispensaries are stocked with thousands of dollars.
But workers say it’s worth it to jump into the risky business of marijuana for the opportunity to get in early.
Florida’s legal medical marijuana business is expected to generate about $456 million in sales in 2018, according to a study from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. That meant roughly 2,800 jobs at the end of 2017. By 2022, Florida’s marijuana employment is expected to grow almost tenfold to about 25,000 jobs, the research group said.
Those estimates would put Florida’s marijuana employment behind only California and Colorado, states that have legalized full recreational marijuana use.