Grow­ing med­i­cal ganja in­dus­try re­cruit­ing top tal­ent

Jamaica Gleaner - - FEATURE -

JA­MAICA’S EM­PLOY­MENT rate has had a slight in­crease over the past few years, spurred by the boom­ing busi­ness process out­sourc­ing sec­tor. But an­other grow­ing sec­tor has qui­etly been cre­at­ing new ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties – and you don’t have to come in con­tact with the plant to work in the med­i­cal ganja in­dus­try.

“As the in­dus­try ma­tures, there will be more re­liance on qual­ity and stan­dards, and there will be an­cil­lary op­por­tu­ni­ties for ac­coun­tants, mar­keters, physi­cians, IT spe­cial­ists, and lawyers,” said Scheril Mur­ray Pow­ell, an at­tor­ney and cannabis en­tre­pre­neur.

The in-de­mand plant­touch­ing roles in­clude pro­cess­ing man­ager, master grower, cul­ti­va­tors, and bud ten­ders. Given the tech­ni­cal na­ture around to­day’s mar­i­juana cul­ti­va­tion and pro­cess­ing, prospec­tive em­ploy­ees with a sci­ence back­ground have an edge in se­cur­ing em­ploy­ment.

“Com­pa­nies are look­ing for grow­ers with an ap­plied sci­ence back­ground,” said Dr Machel Emanuel, hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist and prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor at the Life Sci­ence Cannabis Re­search Group at the Univer­sity of the West In­dies, Mona.

“To­day’s mar­i­juana-grow­ing style is dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional farm­ing. You need that tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise.”

He added: “Biotech­nol­o­gists are also in de­mand for the ex­trac­tion process, and an­a­lyt­i­cal chemists are needed to do chem­i­cal pro­fil­ing.”


The in­creas­ing ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties are a global trend. United States-based re­search firm New Fron­tier Data say that by 2020, the in­dus­try is ex­pected to cre­ate 250,000 new jobs, while jobs in other sec­tors such as man­u­fac­tur­ing and gov­ern­ment will be on the de­cline in that coun­try.

ZipRe­ also re­ported a 445 per cent in­crease in mar­i­juana busi­ness job posts in 2017, and av­er­age salar­ies in the in­dus­try grew 16.8 per cent be­tween 2017 and 2018.

The mar­i­juana in­dus­try is also cre­at­ing an ecosys­tem with in­creased com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity. An­cil­lary busi­nesses such as sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy, se­cu­rity, and green­house de­vel­op­ers have all ben­e­fited from the reg­u­lated in­dus­try.

A lo­cal ganja com­pany can eas­ily spend up­wards of $1 mil­lion per month for 24-hour guard ser­vice to meet reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments. Twenty-fourhour CCTV sur­veil­lance is an­other reg­u­la­tory man­date that runs ganja busi­nesses mil­lions in in­stal­la­tion costs.

There has also been an emer­gence of lo­cal con­sul­tancy com­pa­nies of­fer­ing their ser­vices to nav­i­gate the te­dious ap­pli­ca­tion process on be­half of in­vestors.

“It also cre­ates a whole new area of medicine for physi­cians to rec­om­mend cannabis treat­ment,” Mur­ray Pow­ell added.

“This drives rev­enue for rec­om­mend­ing physi­cians as they are go­ing to see the pa­tient sev­eral times for the year com­pared to once a year for an an­nual check-up.”

While em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties are great, Mur­ray Pow­ell said it is also im­por­tant for Ja­maicans to pur­sue en­trepreneur­ship. That’s ex­actly what she did when she formed Canna Head Hunters, an em­ploy­ment-re­cruit­ment firm for cannabis busi­nesses, as well as Green Sus­tain­able Strong, an agri­cul­ture and cannabis con­sult­ing firm.

“It’s very im­por­tant to pur­sue the en­tre­pre­neur­ial op­por­tu­ni­ties, oth­er­wise all we have is a plan­ta­tion­type in­dus­try,” Mur­ray Pow­ell pointed out.

As the lo­cal mar­i­juana in­dus­try takes shape and the pieces fall into place, Mur­ray Pow­ell had this ad­vice for com­pa­nies cur­rently re­cruit­ing tal­ent.

“This in­dus­try was built on the backs of ac­tivists, pa­tients, and Rasta­fari, and those per­sons should be in­cor­po­rated in your staffing plans. It will keep you accountable and grounded,” she said.

“We got to have re­spect for the plant and the early pi­o­neers. It also makes good moral and busi­ness sense, and it re­flects your or­gan­i­sa­tion’s di­ver­sity.If you fo­cus on just the com­mer­cial as­pect, then you are be­ing short­sighted.”


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