MJBizMag May-June 2022 - 48

SALARY AND HIRING ISSUE
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requirements, except where required
by law.
" Obviously, if you're looking for
a specific trade, like a lawyer or an
accountant, then of course you want
a college graduate. But when it comes
down to anything else in the cannabis
game, quite frankly, I don't see the value
of a college degree, " Summers told
MJBizMagazine.
He isn't alone.
At Würk, a Denver company
specializing in cannabis payroll and
human resources services for more
than 200 plant-touching companies in
45 states, CEO Scott Kenyon said many
cannabis companies didn't require
college degrees in the first place.
" When we started this industry, there
wasn't anything out there-whether
it's bachelor's degrees or associate
degrees, " he said.
" A college degree, let's say in
cultivation or in manufacturing,
even while there's more and more
of those degrees happening, it's not
commonplace to state requirements in
the cannabis industry. "
The Case for College
Others argue that the cannabis
industry won't achieve its diversity
and inclusion goals if it hangs on to
skepticism about cannabis education.
That's because ignoring cannabis
degrees can lead to an unintended
game of who-knows-whom, with cannabis
companies staffed by extended
networks of friends and family.
Scott
Kenyon
It's a recipe for a homogenous
industry, said Esai Miera, who has
managed dispensaries in California
and Colorado.
Earlier this year, Miera founded
Colorado Cannabis Education, which
offers certificates in marijuana retail
operations, cultivation, extraction
and testing.
The goal, he said, is to give people the
skills and experience to get cannabis
jobs without needing to know anyone
who already works in the industry.
" Over the years, I have noticed that
there is a lack of good curriculum and
education in the cannabis space, " Miera
said. " I wanted to change that and help
people get in. "
At Excelsior College, a private online
university in Albany, New York, college
officials see education as one of the best
ways to make the cannabis industry
more equitable.
" I think it's a little bit more
complicated than one or the other,
degree or no degree, " said Gretchen
Schmidt, faculty program director
for Excelsior's cannabis control and
criminal justice programs.
" Removing college-degree
requirements will go a long way to
making the cannabis industry more
equitable. That being said, skill-based
training is still going to help people
get great jobs. "
Blending a Business
Cannabis business owners said it
makes sense to blend a workforce,
48 May-June 2022 | MJBizMagazine
with some staffers boasting formal
cannabis education and others having
pertinent experience.
At Your CBD Store, a Floridabased
franchise with more than 500
locations selling its house SunMed
CBD line, the company recently
searched for a senior vice president
with franchise experience, not a
degree.
" Ten years ago, I would have said a
college degree with a master's is what
you'd want " for an executive role,
said Angela Welsh, the company's vice
president of human resources.
" But through my development
and growth in the HR field-and
then my exposure to the cannabis
industry-I think that experience is
just as valuable as a college degree.
The experience you've gained while
working is invaluable. "
Removing degree language in job
postings has had an immediate impact,
she said, adding, " There's definitely a
larger pool to choose from. "
Summers, the California consultant,
said that cannabis managers looking
to build staffs that are both diverse
and knowledgeable must put in the
hard work of interviewing candidates
to identify who truly has the skills
needed.
" I've met people who have master's
degrees in horticulture who have
grown mediocre weed, " he said. " And
I've met people who don't even have a
GED, and they grow the greatest weed
you've ever seen in your life. "
Esai
Miera
Angela
Welsh
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MJBizMag May-June 2022

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