Currently medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. As it becomes legalized for medical purposes across the country, it has given birth to a new industry which means jobs. HempStaff is one company that is training and educating people unfamiliar with medical marijuana to enter the industry and gain employment. James Yagielo, CEO of HempStaff, sat down with The Source to explain how HempStaff is training people to get into what maybe the country’s next big industry.

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The Source: Why is it so important to hold these sessions about employment in the marijuana industry?  

James Yagielo: Our training gives entry level medical marijuana dispensary agents the knowledge they need to successfully help medical marijuana patients find the best cannabis product for their needs. A big issue in the past has been dispensary agents lacking the proper knowledge to help all types of patients in a medical marijuana dispensary. One example being: if someone seeking cannabis relief also needs to pass a drug test, you need to know which products to recommend for them.


The Source: How many people attend these sessions? 

James Yagielo: It depends on the location and timing of the individual class – each can have anywhere between 25-75 students. We find that in more mature markets, like California or Colorado, many believe they already know all there is to know about cannabis, and we may see lower turnouts.

The Source: The idea of a fully fledged marijuana economy system is still new to people. Can you talk about how that system would look like and the kinds of jobs people can get? 

James Yagielo: At the core of the cannabis economy are licensed facilities: cultivators, extractors and dispensaries. Cultivation centers and extraction centers usually start with around 30 and 20 employees respectively, while dispensaries hover around five to 10 at the beginning. Depending on size, cultivation centers can hire into the hundreds. Like any other industry, you have your entry-, mid- and manager-levels in all of these businesses. This doesn’t even touch on the countless ancillary cannabis businesses that are created in a new market.

The Source: Where does a person go to find a job after receiving the certification?

James Yagielo: In our course we assist with student resumes, supply them with information on all state licensed companies as well as pointers on where these companies post job openings. Students are also placed in our database for any future openings we may have, though start-up companies do tend to hire entry-level on their own.

The Source: When do these certification sessions take place? 

James Yagielo: We hold classes in different cities on either Saturday or Sunday. Each day, we offer two sessions: an 8 AM or 1:30 PM course. Our upcoming schedule is listed and frequently updated on our website. Each session spans four hours with a 20-questioncertification test at the end. To receive HempStaff Certification, attendees must score 75 percent or higher.

The Source: Do the sessions HempStaff offers apply to employment for only medical marijuana or does it include retail training as well?

James Yagielo: We do cover some retail aspects, like how to speak with a patient and work with Point of Sale (POS) computer systems, inventory, cash handling, etc., as dispensary agents are essentially a medical retail job.

The Source: What are some of the most sought after jobs in the industry?

James Yagielo: The most sought-after jobs are the managerial levels of the 3 business types previously mentioned. Master Grower, Master Extractor and Dispensary Manager. Each can make up to $150K, $120K and $100K respectively.

The Source: Does the Department of Labor track statistics on employment statistics in the marijuana industry?

James Yagielo: Unfortunately, the Department of Labor does not track cannabis employment statistics yet.

The Source: The industry is so decentralized, what makes HempStaff’s certification better than other organizations?

James Yagielo: I haven’t taken other training courses, so I cannot say what makes us better. I can say what makes us stand out.  We only offer state-customized, in-person classroom training. This allows students to network hear other student questions and speak one on one, face to face with our trainers to learn state-specific regulations. All HempStaff trainers must have at least five years working experience in the legal cannabis industry, with a minimum of two years as a Dispensary Manager. HempStaff offers our students a resume review, to ensure their resume looks the best in can.  Last, all of our students may attend future classes at no charge, in any state, with advance notice.