Want to work in the legal pot industry? Here’s who’s hiring right now
Illinois marijuana companies have a slew of job openings and plan to fill hundreds more in the coming months.
You might have to wait until Jan. 1 to buy legal weed in Illinois, but if you want to work in the industry, there’s no time like now.
With Gov. J.B. Pritzker poised to sign off on the legislation to lift the statewide ban on recreational weed, local pot companies have already started bolstering their work forces as they prepare to serve Illinois’ expanding marijuana marketplace.
Job postings were literally being updated by the hour Friday and include positions typically associated with the industry, like growers or pot salespeople known as budtenders. Grassroots Cannabis, a Loop-based firm with four medical dispensaries across the state, is also seeking a marketing manager, educational writer and an art director with “a passion for cannabis.”
Bethany Gomez — managing director of the Loop-based Brightfield Group, an analytics and market research firm focusing on the cannabis and CBD industries — said sales of marijuana in Illinois are expected to reach $320 million next year before jumping to more than $1.2 billion in 2023. She noted that recreational marijuana legalization has typically led to a spike in jobs in other states.
Cannabis companies “have a wide variety of services, so it is a great boost to the local economy and creates a great deal of jobs,” said Gomez, adding that legalization also creates jobs in fields that are ancillary related to the pot industry, like law, accounting and staffing firms.
River North-based Cresco Labs, which runs five medical dispensaries and three grow facilities in Illinois, expects to double its workforce in the state and hire 300 new employees.
At the Chicago offices, Cresco is already looking to add more than 70 new positions, including a Human Resources coordinator, a real estate manager and a senior accountant, according to the company’s website. Cresco is also hiring a range of positions at its Elmwood Park dispensary and three grow facilities, including a kitchen supervisor at the company’s Joliet cultivation center that would be tasked with overseeing the production of a line of edibles crafted by the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal and other cannabis-infused goodies, like chocolates and baked goods.
“You’re looking at positions in everything from cultivation and extraction to food production, packaging, retail, marketing, human resources and supply chain,” Cresco Chief Communications Officer Jason Erkes said. “It’s really across the whole spectrum of the company.”
River North’s Green Thumb Industries, or GTI, is also looking to dramatically expand its ranks. GTI Vice President Eunice Kim said the company is hiring 10 people to work at its corporate offices, including a vice president of marketing, an IT analyst, supply chain planner and a graphic designer. That’s in addition to 12 open positions at the five dispensaries and two grow facilities GTI operates across the state, according to the company’s website.
Kim said the GTI’s plan to dramatically increase its workforce is based “not only on the adult-use law but our rapid expansion overall.” The company now employs 1,110 people across 12 states, including Illinois.
“With the possibility to open five additional stores, and with our existing facilities operating in an adult market, there will inevitably be additional jobs created for us on both the wholesale and retail side,” Kim said. “It’s unclear exactly what that would amount to, but it will be significant.”