When it comes to the burgeoning marijuana industry, there have been a lot of “firsts” in recent years. Anchorage, Alaska, has added yet another first to the growing list and has hosted the state’s first-ever cannabis career fair for those looking for a taste of the “green rush” that is all but guaranteed to come.
Held at the home base of Pot Luck Events, a cannabis-friendly organization based in the heart of downtown Anchorage, the fair was yet another indication of the industry’s efforts to adopt an informed, professional workforce ahead of the opening of Alaska’s first legal recreational pot shops. Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use Nov. 4, 2014, and the state’s first recreational dispensaries are expected to open sometime in May of 2016.
Theresa Collins, owner of Pot Luck Events, worked with the newly-formed Alaska Cannabis Growers Association to organize the late May event that hosted over 100 attendees. She said that most of the jobs discussed at the career fair did not actually exist yet, but that having a well-trained, well-informed workforce was essential for the industry’s future success. Marijuana growers, trimmers and bud-tenders were among the jobs expected to become available in the coming years, as well as administrative and clerical positions that become necessary with any profitable business.
Also like other businesses, Collins said, those in the marijuana industry seek dependable, capable employees who show up ready to work and function at the best of their abilities. Collins reported:
“If you’re going to sit down and smoke a joint before you sit down for an interview. I don’t think it really shows that you’re very professional.”
Similar sentiments seemed to percolate throughout the venue. Despite a lingering aroma of marijuana in the air, fair attendees were not actively engaging in cannabis use in front of other members. On the contrary, onsite imbibing was limited to a VIP section located in a back room.
While jobseeker turnout was impressive for an industry that has yet to be fully operational, some attendees felt that there was a lack of immediate, tangible jobs for which to apply. Kyle Houghton owns Alaska Cannabis Staffing, a staffing agency-of-sorts specific to the marijuana industry. Houghton reported:
“I gotta build a data-base first, before I have any value to offer employers. Most of the jobs are gonna come next year.”
Houghton is far from alone in his business plan. One employee represented Green Dream Farms, a company that, among other efforts, creates a substance known as dab by extracting essential oils from substantial amount of cannabis.
“It’s all future marketing and branding,” he said of the business’s presence at the event despite not actually selling its product in a retail setting just yet. “We just kinda wanna get our name out there.”