The Jersey City Office of Diversity & Inclusion held a cannabis job fair at the Mary McCleod Bethune Center. Approved dispensaries were looking to hire locals.
The Jersey City Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has made it clear they want the cannabis companies they approve to hire locally. They believe in the State’s mission to help those most harmed by the War on Drugs, which disproportionately targeted minorities.
The cannabis job fair was held to hire individuals to fill positions. That included dispensary managers, accountants, budtenders (who are specialized retail clerks), inventory and purchasing, order fulfillment, receptionists, security guards, delivery drivers, and delivery managers.
New Dispensaries Getting Ready to Hire
“We’re a medical ATC (Alternative Treatment Center) opening hopefully by the end of the year and expanding to Class 5 (adult-use cannabis dispensary),” Oceanfront Holdings CEO Amanda Handy said. They plan on rebranding the business as Dwtn Flwr.
They won a medical cannabis license last year in the long-awaited resolution of the 2019 medical cannabis request for applications and then received their adult-use cannabis dispensary from the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) in May.
“We’re coming to Jersey City and hoping to offer all Jersey City residents a new position at our dispensary. We hope to open by December. If not, soon after that,” Handy added.
They were hiring budtenders for between $15 and $20 per hour. A general manager could make anywhere between $70,000 and $120,000 a year. The other companies were hiring people within a similar salary range.
Applicants were told to bring resumes, and some filled out applications while there. Overall, about 400 were registered for the job fair, a city official said.
Garden State Greenz co-owner Frank Robertson explained the CCB had approved them. They also have planning board approval and state approval for their conditional license.
However, Garden State Greenz co-owner Brian Markey said he was unsure when they would open. He lamented there would be limited supply in the adult-use cannabis market in the short term.
“There’s no product at all. Which means if we open soon, we would have to buy the product from the same people that the ATCs are buying their product from, which would be a conflict of interest,” Markey said.
“Even if they get to a point when they would open, it’s still going to be who’s going to get what from who,” he added.
Nevertheless, they hope to open by March 2023. However, they were also realistic in saying it’s still up in the air.
“It’s still up in the air,” Markey added.
Hiring Cannabis Workers
Butler and Baldwin, the dispensary owned by Council President Joyce Watterman’s daughter Jennifer W. Moore and her husband David, were also present.
“We’re here to get a base of people we want to hire. We’re pushing for Q-1,” David Moore said about opening in the first quarter of 2023.
These are heady times.
“We’re very excited. We can’t wait till it goes into full effect,” noted Leaf Joint co-owner David Jefferson said about opening.
The council approved their license via resolution. But Leaf Joint is still waiting on its conditional license from the NJCRC for a micro-license.
“We’re at 391 Central Ave. We’re currently running a smoke shop there. It’s across from the post office and parking authority,” he added.
He is waiting for his state license to determine when they will open. It is also a question of how they will acquire products as well.
“I’m hearing that they’re not too much ahead of us,” Jefferson said about the licensed cannabis cultivation companies.
He noted federal cannabis legalization would make it easier to operate a business. President Joe Biden (D) announced the beginning process to change the legal status of cannabis last week.
Jefferson praised the progress made in cannabis under Mayor Steve Fulop’s leadership compared to other municipalities that banned dispensaries.
Harmony Dispensary was also at the cannabis career fair looking for workers. They have an open location in Secaucus and an unopened location in Jersey City and Hoboken. A representative from Harmony could not give an answer when they’ll open.
The Jersey City Cannabis Job Fair and Education
Brendon Robinson of the Minority Cannabis Academy (MCA) was tabling at the cannabis job fair with his partner, Stanley Okoro.
He explained they have been training people to work at licensed cannabis companies. Dispensary budtenders and plant-growing jobs are the most sought-after positions. They have been working with the dispensaries to place people as well.
They recently graduated their first cohort, or class, of 25 and are already looking to recruit their second cohort.
Hudson County Community College was also there advertising its cannabis education program, which includes credited and non-credited programs.