Marijuana Job Fair Overwhelmed With Long Lines of Job Hunters
"I think the bad is going to outweigh the good," the 63-year-old software developer said, explaining his vote.
But Crawford, who said he's been unemployed for the past few months, will tolerate the negative repercussions of the legislation if it means he gets a new, green job.
He was among more than 1,200 job hunters attending what was billed as "CannaSearch," the first-ever job fair for the legal marijuana industry. He waited for more than three hours in a line that snaked at times for nearly three blocks.
The throngs were much larger than organizers had anticipated.
"I thought we would congratulate ourselves if a hundred people showed up," said Ralph Morgan, co-founder of O.PenVAPE, one of the largest companies in the nation's nascent legal marijuana industry. "I didn't realize we would be seeing 150 to 200 people an hour."
Many job seekers came from out of state, Morgan said, and some came from as far as Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Many came not because they were unemployed but because they want to get into this new industry as it begins to explode with growth.
A security guard posted at the front door kept an orderly flow, like a bouncer at a tony nightclub, so that O.PenVAPEs 6,000-squarefoot headquarters in downtown Denver wasn't overrun. The crowd, ranging from folks 21 of age on up, was exceptionally calm and patient, but as the day wore on, some late-arriving job seekers were turned away.
Caricia Janus, 22, said she rarely if ever spent this much time in line for concerts, but the time passed quickly. "I'm just really excited to get into this industry," she said. "I would love to do this."
Her boyfriend, Kyle McKelligott, 24, said he wants to work in an industry that he can feel passionate about. "I will do anything," he said. "I will start at the bottom and work my way up to the top. It doesn't matter."
Laura Kriho of Cannabis Hemp Academy said she was impressed with the caliber of job applicants she interviewed at the job fair.
The academy, which educates people seeking to get into the industry, sought instructors and affiliate marketers, as well as students. "It was quite an overwhelming turnout," she said.
Exhibitors left the event exhausted, but said it was all worth the wear.
"We found some incredible candidates," said Peter Johnson of Colorado Green Tours . "We've got a stack of resumes close to 6 inches tall."
His company guides tourists through the high country, many of whom arrive a little anxious. "They need a little bit of hand holding," Johnson explained. "What they're doing here, they can't do at home."