In this article, we discuss what employees should look for when job hunting among the many cannabis companies in Oklahoma. We also discuss our company values, and how we feel about the Oklahoma cannabis community.
Oklahoma’s Legalization of Medical Marijuana has had a positive impact on the state economy
Since legalization of medical marijuana in 2018, the Oklahoma work force and the overall economy have seen big changes. Real estate values have soared, as industrial zoned buildings have new uses for cultivation and processing. The rental rates for Warehouse space has gone up, as cultivators lease more and more of these places for indoor cultivation.
Oklahoma’s Legalization of Medical Marijuana created a new sector of jobs
Medical marijuana has also affected the labor force. Many places are short handed on labor, and not all of it is because of COVID-19. Dispensaries have sucked away lots of employees that previously would have worked in restaurants and bars. Instead of waiting tables or tending the bar, those same people are acting as budtenders.
The oil and gas industry has traded employees back and forth with cultivators, as those employees will jump ship over to cannabis when the oil market is down. (And sometimes they jump back into oil and gas when the market goes back up).
Medical marijuana is here to stay in Oklahoma. Cannabis companies are job creators and wealth creators. We put a lot of money back into the local economy. All of the trades – electricians, heating and air contractors, plumbers, and builders – have benefited from the cannabis industry. The same goes for their material suppliers.
So let’s talk about the different types of cannabis business that exist, and how they are not all equal.
The Oklahoma cannabis community deserves Socially Responsible Growers
Those of us that work in the cannabis industry are people that simply love the plant, and want to be around it. Working on a farm or at an indoor grow facility is like a dream job. The work is hard, but it is rewarding. And getting to grow weed for a living is a great way to pay the bills. For many people, working in the cannabis industry is a dream come true.
And it is for that reason that so many people are lured away from more stable careers. The Oklahoma cannabis industry is very new, and therefore very unstable.
Socially Irresponsible Growers harm their local communities
The amount of fly-by-night marijuana growers in Oklahoma is astonishing. Every day, there are commercial growers that go out of business. And every day, there are new growers that take their place.
There are many good growers, such as Smokey Okies Cannabis, that have grown their brand organically through word of mouth and loyalty of patients. And we are not alone; there are many other growers that are ethical in their practices.
But there are far and away more unethical and shady cultivators than there are good ones. And it is time for the public, and the industry, to take notice.
Far too many grows are undercapitalized, and have no real business plan. They sought out to get a license, and build a grow room, but after that, they had no plan. What happens is when these businesses finally harvest a crop, they have no brand, no sales team, and no distribution channel.
So what do these haphazard grow businesses do? They basically dump their product on the market for next to nothing, because at this point, they are broke and desperate for cash, and probably behind on their payroll. They need money and they need it now; they will deal with the lost profits later. But this pattern can only last so long before the company goes out of business.
Why is this a problem? After all, isn’t this just the nature of business?
Irresponsible Growers lure employees away from Stable Careers for short term jobs with unethical practices
This is a problem because the potential employees and members of the local community cannot tell from the outside how fragile these businesses are.
These “businesses” come to town and offer jobs to locals for trimming, pruning, and other grow tech work. Many people are lured away from otherwise stable jobs so they can finally work their dream job at a grow.
But these irresponsible grows have little to offer in terms of stable employment. Most don’t even follow basic laws.
Haphazard Grow businesses do not pay W-2 Wages
For example, most of these irresponsible grow businesses do not pay W-2 wages, which is required by Federal law. Businesses are required to withhold taxes from each pay check on behalf of the employee, so the employee does not have to pay those taxes at the end of the year.
But the irresponsible growers attempt to treat all employees as independent contractors so they can evade payroll taxes and send the employee a Form 1099 at the end of the year.
Irresponsible growers also fail within six to 12 months, leaving the employees without a job. It would have been nice to know that theses companies were going out of business as the time you signed up.
Irresponsible growers do not offer benefits
The other problem is that these growers do not offer any form of long term employment benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans. Because these companies do not have a plan for the long term, they are not focused on providing stable careers for marijuana employees. These are short term jobs that eventually dry up, leaving the employee back on the job hunt.
Socially Responsible Growers provide stable employment opportunities
The socially responsible growers provide a safe space for people who love cannabis to come work. We also provide real opportunities for a long career.
At Smokey Okies, we promote from within. We have had people start out as trimmers advance to management positions. We give pay raises based on performance. Therefore, the passionate employees can advance in their positions over time.
We also offer health insurance and 401k plans, so that if our employees want to stick around for the long term, they have real benefits they can take home to their families.
How can patients help support sustainable cannabis
Support the dispensaries that carry the ethical brands. If the dispensary refuses to label their jars or provide information on the grower, beware. They certainly have that information, but if they are unwilling to share it, it’s because they don’t want you to know.On the other hand, many other dispensaries will proudly display the grower’s brand on the jar. These are the types of shops worth supporting, because they believe in transparency.
As a flower purchaser, you have a right to know who grew your herb. And by knowing, you can learn about their cultivation methods, as well as their ethics.
Cannabis can absolutely help a local economy and community. But bad cannabis operators can create as much of a loss as the good ones create a gain. Patients have the power to impact this aspect of cannabis culture, and the growing sector of the cannabis economy. By simply supporting the retailers that carry flower from ethical growers, they are making a big change.
And by refusing to go to dispensaries that do not label their jars or disclose the growers, the same patients contribute to the cause.