The cannabis industry is projected to double its demand for employees, from 122-thousand to 300-thousand employees, according to industry analysis. I sat down with Karson Humiston, the amazing 20-something that’s placing C-level execs at leading cannabis companies from around the world.
“Entrepreneurs have it, or they don’t,” said Humiston, “you can have the idea but you need to be able to execute, have a plan, and stick to it – I see a vision and work every day to get there.”
As founder and CEO of Vangst Talent, a placement agency for the cannabis space, Humiston’s vision is to fold the most talented professionals from all walks of life into the cannabis industry.
Humiston gave me some pointers for what jobs and skills are in demand in the cannabis industry.
Horticulture skills are a staple skill for the industry. More specifically, on the growing side, it’s a huge bonus if candidates experienced working or interning at a mid-scale commercial grow.
The bottom line is that the best candidates understand SOP (standard operating practices) from long-standing industries that can apply to cannabis, like the tulip industry.
On the extraction side, she’s looking for candidates with a background in chemistry or chemical engineering.
But if you’re not a rocket scientist, that’s ok too.
Sales are huge, according to Humiston. Shops always need great, knowledgeable salespeople out on the floor.
Accountants and office managers are always in demand.
For youngsters just beginning to map out their career – or those people who are looking for a long-term play – the biotechnology space in cannabis, and the research and development is growing. Experts agree it’ll be a solid payoff for people in the biotech and R&D side, as strides are expected for cannabinoid medicine in the next decade.
Fighting the stereotype
Overcoming the stoner stereotype is a routine time drain for everyone in the industry.
The number one question candidates continue to ask: “Am I going to go to jail?”
To combat those negatives, Humiston and her team of recruiters reach out to qualified professionals on LinkedIn, among other headhunter platforms, with educational literature as well as facts and industry analyses by data research firms.
“There’s still a stereotype around the plant, and our candidates feel it,” she said.
She admits that about 35 percent of people who are candidates, just aren’t applying. The stereotypes are ingrained in many people’s minds and it’s tough to turn them around.
Even with pro-cannabis literature, many say they aren’t interested in the industry – or, they are interested but their spouse won’t ‘let them’.
In effort to reach out to introduce the working community to the cannabis industry, Vangst Talent is hosting a Cannabis Career Summit on January 19 in Denver. There will be more than forty companies, from dispensaries to ancillary businesses, on site – and looking to fill hundreds of roles from entry to the executive level.
If you’re unsure of the industry, start your new career journey with a cannabis career fair.
Not only can you ask around for job trends, skillsets, and geographical hotspots, but there will be regulatory officials there to guide you through the process for getting a MED license.
Most importantly, I’m told Native Roots is looking to hire a hundred people ON THE SPOT.
Other cannabis companies to visit while you’re there: LivWell, Trimming America, Dixie Elixirs, O.pen Vape, Leafly, MiNDFUL, Keef Cola, Cannabis Industry Institute, Würk, Nerve Cannabis Consulting, Good Chemistry, Baker, Frosted Leaf, Wana Brands, Incredibles, SanSal, LeafLink, Canna Advisors, Grow for Vets, Green Man Cannabis, Blue Line Protection, Cannabis Trainers, Security Grade, Dank Essence, SSDP, Impact Network, The Farm, Cannabrand, NORML, and Highest Reward, to name a few.
Entry price is ten dollars at the door, free with a MED license. Humiston will be among the keynote speakers.
She prides herself on giving people more than just a job, but also the tools to find the right one; especially if the prospective employee is coming from another industry.
“Someone from retail or restaurant could be skeptical or unaware, so I invite them to cruise through the career summit and learn,” said Humiston.
The Vangst Cannabis Career Summit is designed for workers looking to sharpen their current industry expertise and job seekers looking to connect with companies who are hiring.
Attendees will be exposed to career-enriching knowledge and learn best business practices from the professional cannabis industry.
The woman behind it all, Karson Humiston, is taking the stage at her summit to discuss how traditional careers, such as accounting, marketing, or information technology, exist within the cannabis space. Her goal is to dispel misconceptions that the cannabis industry consists of solely marijuana enthusiasts.
Maureen McNamara is the founder and Chief Facilitator with Cannabis Trainers. Her company is behind pretty much all of the training that goes into cannabis business professionals. At the summit, she’s giving a keynote speech which focuses on the art of landing the interview.
Bob Hoban, Principal and Owner at Solana Business Solutions, is all about regulatory compliance. In 2016, Hoban was selected as a member of the Boulder Colorado inaugural Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee and asked to serve on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee. Hoban is a professor at the University of Denver in the Law and Society Program and regularly instructs regarding cannabis and hemp-related legal and policy topics.
Representatives for the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division will be on hand to help answer any questions about acquiring a MED badge.
The bud tender panel brings bud tenders from four of Colorado’s largest dispensaries to give their insider tips and insight into their sought-after profession. Whether you’re looking to pick the brain of a bud tender or just an aspiring dispensary worker, this panel is designed to provide information about one of the largest and most influential positions in the cannabis industry.
People who have been arrested for cannabis charges are eligible for job placement, however, employment is ultimately up to employers.
Connecting people is a job close to her heart. “It’s a dream job,” said Humiston, “it’s so rewarding to see matches being made.”
Marijuana Times readers can receive free admission with the promo code: MJTIMES