Growth industry: Medical pot facility holds job fair in Taunton
For locals looking to find a job that is part of a fast-growing industry, has a high potential for advancement and pays an annual salary around $50,000, a newly opening medicinal marijuana facility might be the perfect fit, said organizers of a job fair at the Holiday Inn Thursday.
Commonwealth Alternative Care, a non-profit provisional license holder for an upcoming medicinal marijuana cultivation and distribution facility in the city, held the job fair to talk with potential candidates.
At least two other companies will be working in conjunction with CAC, Sea Hunter Therapeutics and the Alternative Care Resource Group, which will be providing capital and management expertise, respectively.
“I’m really impressed with the people who have come by, especially their educational level. It’s a great start so far,” said Tyler Goff, head of retail, wholesale and marketing for Sea Hunter.
“We want to do things right to be a model for the rest of the state.”
According to CAC Chief Operating Officer Matthew Harrison, the facility does not yet have an opening date set in stone and is awaiting a final inspection and certificate of registration from the state.
According to C.J. Furtado, operations manager, the facility is expecting to plant seeds by the end of March.
For its first year, the facility is looking to fill 100 positions that will pay between $20 to $25 an hour, according to Goff. By the end of the next two to three years, he said that the facility hopes to employ close to 300 people.
According to Carlyssa Scanlon, retail director, the facility will look into the ability to offer the retail sale of recreational marijuana as soon as it is permitted in the state on July 1.
“We’re well versed in what will happen,” she said, referring to the experience of a number of employees who worked in Colorado for a number of years.
Harrison said that the facility would begin training qualified individuals after receiving its certificate of registration before turning on its lights and opening its doors to patients.
The facility is seeking to fill positions for all departments within the 150,000 square-foot property at 30 Mozzone Boulevard that is owned by Daniel DaRosa.
Departments are responsible for overseeing each of the various stages required to properly grow, cultivate, harvest, process and then sell the plant.
According to Harrison, employees will be present at the facility 24/7 and will be split among three shifts. Cultivation, he said, will require the largest number of employees.
With regards to safety measures, Commonwealth has put out a bid for a security company to protect and monitor the facility and dispensary when it opens to patients.
In addition to irrigation and trimming, employees working in cultivation will have to be on the lookout for pests and mold. Lab and research and development positions will require the most highly skilled individuals, Harrison said.
Harrison said that those looking to apply for positions within the growing facility would need to work well in a fast-paced, yet meticulous work environment. For example, he said that applicants should be aware that the grow room itself would be hot and humid on a frequent basis.
According to Harrison, employees are also expected to work well in the face of potential changes to the workplace routine as a result of regulations that could be passed, for example, updates to fire codes. The facility is hiring government liaisons to proactively address this potential issue, he said.
The facility will also make use of liquid propelled gases using a closed-loop butane extraction process to make oils and waxes. Marijuana has more than 500 different chemical compounds that can only be extracted at certain temperatures and under certain conditions, Harrison said.
“We may have to pivot (our process) on a moment’s notice,” he said.
Other open positions that do not require employees to work as regularly with the plants themselves include those in retail, consulting, marketing and public relations. The facility is also looking to hire a general manager, assistant general manager and even kitchen staff.
According to David Topian, head chef, the facility will be cooking and offering six kinds of edible products to patients, including infused chocolate-covered espresso beans and citrus-infused tincture shots, as well as mints, gummies and lozenges.
“Unlike other places where there is a wide selection of flavors, we will be perfecting just these six items at first,” said Topian.
“We want to make sure the product is produced each time without failure and we don’t want to overload the market (with a plethora of products).”
Another “groundbreaking” addition that the facility will offer is a DNA-swabbing process that will allow patients to determine which strains of marijuana are best suited to them as a result of the rate at which they metabolize THC and CBD.
Patients can view their results using charts, statistics, and other visual aides.
Harrison said that despite the stigma that still exists surrounding even medicinal marijuana, potential employees should not feel that their future prospects would be limited as a result.
“We’re in the business of helping people who are ill,” said Harrison.
“If you learn about and gain experience in the field of caring for people, it will certainly look pretty good on your resume.”
Furtado said that he believes the stigma surrounding marijuana-growing operations would soon be dispelled due to the field’s growing success as a major industry in some states in the United States.
He also believes that employees who work in the industry already have a leg-up on their counterparts in other fields, stating that it is rapidly evolving with a relatively small pool of existing employees.
During his time working at a facility in Colorado, Harrison observed that the company more than quadrupled its number of employees within two years from 50 to 220.
“Two years of experience is equal to 10 years in another field,” Harrison said.
“It grows that fast.”