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February 08, 2020
How to Get a Job in Cannabis if You Live in Illinois

BY MARIE LODI 

On February 1, Chicago held its first-ever Cannabis Resource Fair, a job expo focused on employment in the cannabis industry. Since Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational use, people are curious about employment prospects in the burgeoning industry. Over 60 booths featuring different cannabis businesses and organizations were at the event, including MedMen, which has two locations in Oak Park and Evanston. 

MedMen’s Regional Hospitality Training Manager Paul Bennett was on hand at the event as there are open positions within both locations for hospitality associates, as well as the operations department. Below, he shares the advice he gave to attendees.

Do I Need Prior Experience?

If you’re worried that you lack cannabis experience, it won’t be an issue. Bennett says he meets with candidates who range from current college students to real estate professionals. And it’s people of all ages too — anywhere from 21 to mid-60s. “We're looking for people that are passionate about cannabis and more importantly, passionate about people and helping others,” he says. “If they’re able to work in a relatively high-paced environment, that's exactly what we're looking for. Everything else we can train.”  

Do I Need Special Training?

To work in a dispensary, you’ll need an Illinois Responsible Vendor certificate. MedMen actually takes care of the cost of the training and gets employees certified within their first 30 days. If you’re interested in getting one before you apply, there are different courses both at local colleges and online. “I actually have certifications from two online schools myself, but outside of that we're really just looking for people that have the ability to connect with others,” Bennet advises.

What Should I Study Up On?

It sounds like a no-brainer but you should have a good understanding of both the laws and the plant itself. You should know the basics about cannabis — what’s the difference between sativa versus indica? What are the different consumption methods? What’s the right dosing? After that, research the state regulations within your particular state. And if you really want to impress, familiarize yourself as much as you can about the different cultivators we carry at MedMen so you have base knowledge about the different products that these vendors carry. But don’t drive yourself crazy, “Ultimately, we want passionate people that are interested in cannabis and can share its benefits.”

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