Editorial: Marijuana, casino to impact Valley job market
The newly legal recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts and the opening of the MGM Springfield resort casino later this year are sure to have an impact on the Pioneer Valley economy.
While it will take awhile to determine their long-term effect on the region’s economic health, one thing is for certain: both industries have hung out their help-wanted signs.
Voters in November 2016 approved a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is expected to issue its final regulations March 15, and to begin accepting applications April 1 for licensing marijuana businesses. Legal sales will start July 1.
Medical marijuana dispensaries will receive priority in the recreational pot licensing process, and they are already hiring. About 350 people attended a job fair in November to staff the INSA Inc. medical marijuana dispensary that opened during February at the Keystone Mill building on Pleasant Street in Easthampton, and nearly 1,000 more applied online, according to general manager Ian Kelly.
The INSA dispensary has 50 employees with backgrounds in areas including horticulture, botany, molecular science, chemistry, accounting, retail and security, Kelly said. He anticipates a similar interest in jobs at INSA’s dispensary in Springfield that is expected to have 20 workers this spring. He predicts that hiring will increase when recreational sales begin this summer.
“As the industry continues to grow, both for patients and in the near future with recreational cannabis sales, the need for talented team members will only continue to develop,” Kelly said.
Cannabis-specific jobs at dispensaries include growers, trimmers, budtenders and edible creators. Listings on the SimplyHired website for edible manufacturing assistants and trim team members at Massachusetts dispensaries offer annual salaries of between $22,000 and $31,000.
Positions such as a state-contracted compliance officer pay between $32 and $46 an hour, and