Turnout at cannabis hiring event leads to hourslong waits for Chicago applicants eager to enter marijuana industry

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago saw a lot of excitement this weekend over job opportunities in the cannabis industry.

Tons of applicants showed up at a top marijuana company's hiring event Sunday, leading to a more than three-hour wait just to get an interview.

The Yard Marijuana Dispensary sifted through stacks of resumes this weekend.

"We are looking to come here and build a great business for ourselves by having highly educated people and medically focused with a great atmosphere," said Chris Visco, The Yard's president and CEO.

Visco said she operates the three largest dispensaries in the state of Pennsylvania. Now the company is looking for top talent to work at ten dispensary locations that they're hoping to open in the Chicago area next year.

Visco said the locations would be in and around the city, bringing in at least 300 new jobs.

"I do not offer paychecks, I offer careers," Visco said. "I want people that want my jobs to be passionate and hungry about cannabis and business."

The hiring event comes as dozens of pot companies look to increase their workforce to serve the Illinois marijuana marketplace, which kicks into high gear January 1.

New Frontier Data estimates that the state's legal cannabis industry will employ more than 63,000 people by 2025, according to the group's recent report.

"This is big for Chicago," said Jabria Stainback, who attended the hiring event Sunday. "This is big for Illinois."

Job postings for cannabis growers, pot sales people, marketing experts and even medical professionals are posted daily.

"This is up and coming. It can bring a lot to the city and I want to be part of the new wave," said Farra Oliver, who attended the event.

Illinois legalized recreational marijuana, beginning January 1, 2020.

Adults aged 21 and over will be able to buy up to 30 grams, or about 1 ounce, of marijuana flower, edibles totaling no more than 500mg of THC, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate products. Non-residents will be able to purchase half those amounts.
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