Kingston pot shop guarantees job interviews for people in the legacy market 

man gets the job

David Yasvinski | The Growth Op

Mar 11, 2020

A Canadian dispensary is trying to repay the industry’s trailblazers by putting them to work.

Jennawae McLean, one of the owners of Kingston, Ont.’s Calyx + Trichomes, told The GrowthOp her store is planning to hire eight to 10 people and anyone from the legacy space with a non-violent cannabis charge on his or her record is guaranteed to be first in line for an interview.

A veteran of the industry from its pre-legalization days, McLean said companies owe a debt to the people who did the heavy lifting to normalize and spread awareness of the drug in Canada.

“It seems ridiculous to me that the people with the most valuable experience are the ones being looked over,” she said.

Employees who were devoted enough to get arrested for the cause are exactly what makes them appealing, McLean said.

“These people forfeited a lot of personal freedoms to be able to support someone else’s vision,” she said. “Those are the most dedicated employees that I would ever find, I think. And not only that, of course they have a knowledge base, they’re used to the types of customers that are going to be coming in and the questions they’d be getting,” she added.

A guaranteed interview doesn’t equal a guaranteed job, but it will get applicants in the door.

Denying them would also make her a hypocrite, McLean said, as she and her partner had their previous store, 420 Kingston, raided by police two years ago.

“At the time, we were actually hosting the Lift Cannabis Cup and when they came in to get our seeds, they saw it was the last day of the entry, so we were actually arrested originally for trafficking and it was reduced to simple possession, which, luckily, we were able to get pardoned,” McLean said.

“And the week after that, the Cannabis Act was announced,” she added. “So, we knew that we weren’t ever going to be able to sell seeds without sort of tightening up our shoelaces a little bit.”

With licensing for the store expected to be finalized shortly, all Calyx + Trichomes needs now are talented people to help it sell some weed.

A guaranteed interview doesn’t equal a guaranteed job, but it will get applicants in the door, McLean said, and she’s hopeful people will be forthcoming now that they know their record will likely help them out.

“We want people to be wearing their activism as a badge of honour.”

“Especially if people are afraid to list dispensary experience on their résumé when we are literally opening a regulated dispensary that’s going to sell cannabis,” she said. “It just seems absurd,” McLean noted.

“Mostly everything can be taught, but for me, the loyalty and dedication to the cause go a long way. I want the people who were willing to do that when it was hard. We want people to be wearing their activism as a badge of honour,” she added.

Amnesty programs are growing in popularity as companies and governments realize more can be gained by adding the expertise and knowledge of people from the illicit industry than by vilifying them.

For example, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines just initiated a cannabis cultivation amnesty program that allows illicit growers to trade in their harvest in exchange for a legal licence to produce marijuana. The measure is part of a larger package of cannabis reform that legalized medical marijuana in the country.