The Shortage Of Cannabis Workers: How to close the breach?
Estimated 5-minute read
The modern explosion in popularity of the cannabis plant seems to have no downsides for the average pothead, who now, more than ever, has virtually unlimited options and alternatives to enjoy their favorite hobby.
From new strains being grown almost every day, new and exciting blends appearing as fast as they can, and more ways to consume weed than ever (Smoking! Edibles! Oils!), and more and more territories decriminalizing (or even outright legalizing) this amazing herb, we certainly are living through the early stages of a new Golden Age of Pot, and the show doesn’t seem to be stopping.
In fact, the popularity of cannabis will only grow (pun intended) from now on, which is a huge push brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, when lockdowns and social distancing became a normal part of our lives, and with few options to truly have a chill time at home, the social acceptance of cannabis accelerated as never before (after all, with the state of the world as it is, who can blame you for lighting a joint in the comfort of your home?), and it’s probably going to stay that way.
“UNODC research has shown that perceptions of cannabis harms have decreased in areas where the drug has been legalized”, says Ghada Waly, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which reported in 2022’s World Drug Report, which “the latest trends in the global supply of opiates and synthetic opioids and the availability of pharmaceutical opioids for medical consumption.”
In fact, you may be surprised (or not) to hear that, currently, there are around 209 million cannabis users around the world, counting both recreational and medical uses of this plant, which is also pushing the industry to grow massively, especially during and after the pandemic.
However, this sudden growth, although welcome, has also brought issues to cannabis that should be remedied as soon as possible to ensure the cannabis culture can keep getting bigger and more accepted. Namely, that the weed industry is now facing a severe shortage of workers and specialists in all kinds of areas. And the gap to cross is not as easy as you might think.
The workers gap and weed: How and why?
Okay, so by now you must know that, just as the social adoption of cannabis has grown during the pandemic, a bunch of many problems and unexpected developments also came with it. And one of the most pressing and complicated for now is that every industry (although Tech, Health and Hospitality seem to have the worst of it) is facing a shortage of workers of all kinds.
We don’t want to go into too much detail here, it would take ages to explain and it has very little to do with weed, but the gist of it is that the rapid growth of cannabis consumption, along a reduced pool of qualified talent around, has put cannabis businesses between a stone and a hard place.
“We believe the cannabis industry has enormous potential to make a positive impact on our society; as a health and wellness tool, job-creation engine, agricultural renaissance, entrepreneurial boom, disruptor of pharma, alcohol, and tobacco, social justice movement, and much more”, says the mission statement of Green Flower, a cannabis company that is looking to take matters into their own hands. “Businesses struggle to stay in compliance, retain their workforce, and provide consistent customer interactions without standardized training.”
The thing is, as consuming weed is just now becoming a socially accepted activity, experienced professionals are hard to come by, since many of the job positions available are basically new, and very few options exist for the person looking to get into cannabis professionally. How many health, farming, administration and customer-service professionals specialized in the cannabis trade exist right now? A lot fewer than needed, which is why companies like Green Flower are trying to change people’s attitudes towards weed as an industry.
Cannabis education and training: Are you ready for a “green” career?
This is one of the reasons why the University of New Haven, in Connecticut, is partnering with California-based Green Flower to push cannabis education and professionalization forward.
“Trained professionals are needed to fill the jobs that are being created now and that will be created in the future”, are the words of Danielle Wozniak, Provost and Vice President For Academic Affairs in the aforementioned university. “Students will receive cutting-edge preparation in these certificate programs to prepare them to excel in this emerging and highly competitive growth market while applying ethical business practices and quality standards to the Connecticut cannabis industry.”
Since Connecticut is one of the few states to have decriminalized cannabis in the US, offering certificate programs in Business, Healthcare, Law and Agriculture is the logical choice to ensure the future weed industry is in the best hands. So these certificates will be open to anyone interested in joining the industry, with access to the nascent network of cannabis professionals that is slowly starting to grow.
So if you are a US resident with interest in weed beyond a mere hobby, this might be your opportunity to be part of a society that is slowly, but surely, getting open to the idea of adopting weed as a normal part of our lives. After all, with more and more cities and countries deciding to finally legalize weed, the breadth of uses and applications that this plant has (with maybe even a few ones we don’t know yet), and a demand that will keep growing from now on, the Golden Age of Pot can finally begin if more talented people has the opportunity to learn and educate themselves in this topic.
Would you be one of those? A career in cannabis, in any of its areas (Health, Law, Botany, Business) is something you have considered before, or this is a new chance you are discovering just now? Because regardless, the best plant in the world is getting more popular, and there will always be demand for people willing to discover this amazing world.