One of the first rules of operating a successful black market drug dealing operation is to never get high on your own supply
. Well, it turns out this thug-life ethos is being practiced by parts of the legal cannabis industry. Medical marijuana cultivation facilities, dispensaries and other pot-based businesses operating in the post-prohibition landscape are reportedly rejecting job applicants with a strong admiration for weed. Even those marred by marijuana-related criminal convictions are often turned away. The overall message is that while stoners and potheads
may be the ones responsible for the present state of pot reform in America, they are, in a lot of cases, not welcome to work in weed.
In Florida, where the state’s medical marijuana market is just now starting to build some momentum, cannabis operations are in a frenzy to hire budtenders
, cultivation experts
and various other team members to assist in serving the hundreds of thousands of patients expected to participate in the program. The state already has around 147,000 patients in the pool, so finding quality, reliable talent to run the show is top of mind for most human resources managers.
However, the process is not going as smoothly as expected. Many of these businesses are simply refusing to hire marijuana users and people with drug-related blemishes on their record -- regardless of their qualifications. Such high standards have disqualified the majority of job applicants. Roughly only about “10 percent” of those who apply for positions in Florida's cannabis market are employable, according to the Orlando Sentinel
This is not entirely the fault of the cannabis industry. Florida law dictates that all employees of medical marijuana operations be felony free. So while it is conceivable that a job applicant with a misdemeanor for pot possession could receive the green light to grow and sell marijuana in the legal sector, anyone convicted of engaging in these activities on the pre-legal scene can be automatically blacklisted.
In an attempt to combat this borderline hypocrisy, some job recruitment firms
, like Miami-based HempStaff, are telling people interested in securing a cannabis industry job that, “they should avoid bringing up any illegal activity regarding cannabis in an interview.” Bragging about growing primo black market bud or being the top selling weed slinger in the county are not things that should be listed on a resume.
The no-stoners-allowed policy is not as problematic in states that have legalized the leaf for recreational use. In fact, a study published earlier this summer in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that a large percentage of cannabis industry workers in Colorado are getting high both before they go to work and during business hours. Researchers at Colorado State University found
that 63 percent of the state’s cannabis industry employees showed up to the job high within the last month while another 45 percent admitted to getting stoned on the clock. So, obviously, there are plenty of cannabis companies hiring people passionate about maintaining a daily buzz.
Still, for those people not yet locked in to a lucrative pot job, it might be best to wait until after the interview to get high
. The cannabis industry has been fighting hard to eliminate stoner stereotypes
, so getting dabbed out of your gourd prior to discussing a career in cannabis with a company on the hook to investors for millions of dollars might not be the best way to make a solid first impression. The objective is to hear an HR manager say "you're hired," not "you're high...get out."