Ask Nick D’Amelio, 27, what he does for a living, and his answer might surprise you.
“I grow weed,” the Waldwick, NJ resident said.
D’Amelio landed his first job in the cannabis industry over three years ago, when he was hired as a grow technician at the Greenleaf Compassionate Center in Montclair, New Jersey. It was love at first seed.
“I’m a weed guy. I like grass. I am passionate about the factory and the opportunities it provides for so many people,” he said.
D’Amelio wasn’t just talking about medical and recreational cannabis, but also about career growth and the opportunities the industry offers. “Three years ago, I was a technician,” he says. “Now I’m the northeast culture manager overseeing three states. Where else can you grow so fast? I didn’t go to college.
Management work is TerrAscend in Boonton, NJ, D’Amelio’s second largest cannabis employer. There he oversaw the construction of a 76,000 square foot grow facility, the first of its kind in New Jersey.
The benefits that cannabis brings are paramount in his mind. “I smoked weed with my stepdad and my cousin when they were dying of cancer,” he said. “It brought them peace. It helps people enjoy life more, relax and sleep.
Recreational cannabis sales became legal in New Jersey in April, and it’s one of 18 states where anyone over the age of 21 can purchase limited amounts of weed from a state-licensed dispensary. “People were lining up in the street,” D’Amelio said. As of this month, there were 13 such dispensaries in the state, with more to come.
“The cannabis industry is about to explode, and everyone is gearing up to pounce on New York,” said George Jage, president of Jage Mediawhich hosts some of the industry’s leading trade events.
He compares this moment in the history of cannabis to the period when prohibition was lifted in the alcohol industry. “Customer demand became visible and all kinds of jobs became available.”
Because cannabis is still federally illegal, many jobs around weed are local, as individual states regulate everything “from seed to sale.” New York, where some recreational marijuana producers already have their licenses, is expected to come online for recreational sales in late 2022 or early 2023, resulting in about 24,000 jobs in the coming years, according to a book by information released by the State of New York. .
“The cannabis industry is still hiring,” said Jacob Carlson, co-founder of EzHire Cannabis, also known as “Indeed for Weed”. The job board, EzHireCannabis.com, is for mid-level workers interested in cultivation, lab work (processing and manufacturing), and retail.
The main qualification to be hired for any job in the industry is “enthusiasm for cannabis,” Carlson said. That said, aspiring budtenders could edge out the competition if they have some retail experience, because “you know how to work with customers,” but employees need to learn about the products and benefits they offer. .
To help its community, EzHire Cannabis offers a free marijuana learning center on its site that includes tutorials such as budtending 101, packer/labeler 101, and harvester/cutter 101, among others.
New Yorkers might also consider the New York State Department of Labor Cannabis Workforce Development Programwhich can be provided free of charge if you are unemployed, or the online certificate program certificate in cannabis production and management offered online by SUNY Farmingdale and Cannabis 101 by Leaflyamong others.
Connie Bertussi, Vice President of Human Resources at Area holdingsa multi-state cannabis operator headquartered in Midtown, advises applicants to acquire at least some knowledge before the interview.
“Take the time to learn about the industry and the types of jobs needed to produce and sell our products,” she said. “It’s also important to understand the state requirements.”
Not all cannabis jobs require direct contact with the product. Companies like Acreage Holdings are also hiring for corporate positions in accounting, IT, supply chain, and marketing. While many of the required skills transfer well from other industries, “a passion for the factory” is a must.
Cannabis legalization has also created specialties outside of the immediate industry, as public relations manager Alexis Isaacs, 33, has discovered.
“If you had asked me two years ago if I was thinking of building a career around cannabis, I would have said no,” the Brooklyn resident said. But when she received a call from Chelsea’s human resources department, Mattio Communications, who specializes in cannabis, his interest was piqued. She now not only works at Mattio, but co-hosts the “High Priority” podcast which features in-depth conversations with industry experts about the past, present and future of cannabis.
HR manager Carrissa Menendez was equally curious when she was approached by a recruiter about the best HR position at LeafLink, a financial district-based software company that serves the wholesale cannabis market. The cannabis industry had been in the headlines, and Menendez “was excited about the industry’s mission to do well, by doing good,” she said. Menendez now leads human resources for LeafLink’s 340 employees, who previously worked at some of the nation’s top employers like Apple, Etsy, Microsoft and Time Warner.
At this point, the cannabis industry has arrived and is full of opportunity. “There’s no great resignation here,” Isaacs said.