Employees performing cultivation tasks at Colorado Harvest Company's facility in Denver.
Photos courtesy of Colorado Harvest Company

Working in cannabis is not just a job; it’s joining a cultural and scientific revolution.

Colorado Harvest Company is vertically integrated, so we grow and process the flower that we sell in our three dispensaries; so, our 80 employees can work throughout the continuum of the cannabis industry, from seed to sale, if they wish, because they can choose to cross-train. Cultivators, or plant-tenders, have the option to work as budtenders in our cannabis centers. Rotating grow cycles and harvests provides full-time work for all who want it.

We have an experienced senior team of front-store sales managers, back-office accountants and professional horticulturists who lead production, compliance, sales and business strategy. We round out our team with highly qualified legal, marketing and IT consultants.

Since 2009, our company has been growing by double digits every year, except for the 404-percent bump we experienced in 2014, when Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational use. Colorado Harvest Company pays above-average wages and benefits, and we offer a 401(k) plan and medical insurance. We strive to hire good people, and we treat them very well. We think of hiring as initiating a long-term relationship.

As in any hiring situation, a candidate needs to make a good first impression. With every candidate, beginning with the letter of application, we look for good manners, common sense and intelligence. This goes a long way in any position. The next steps in hiring are more specific to our industry; here are five traits we seek in successful job applicants:

1. Is the candidate compliance-aware?

In our highly regulated industry, we look for an applicant who has done their homework. In Colorado, it’s having a state badge. We recognize that a candidate with state and local paperwork in order at the time of application is serious about joining our team. We don't interview folks who don't have their approvals in order.

2. Is the candidate customer-service oriented?

In the store, budtending is all about customer service. In the cultivation operation, employees need to be able to interact with visitors, journalists, government officials and inspectors.

3. Does the candidate have product knowledge?

Front-store sales personnel have to be able to help customers choose the right products. Back-office managers need to be able to understand supply chains and associated costs. Cultivators need to understand production goals, regulations and safety precautions.

4. Will the candidate be a team player?

It's the teamwork that makes the dream work.

5. Does the candidate have passion for the plant?

We can train someone to run a point of sale, but it's nearly impossible to train for passion.

Tim Cullen is CEO and co-owner of Colorado Harvest Company, a vertically integrated company that grows and sells its own premium, naturally grown cannabis; operates three retail cannabis shops; and is a partner in the leading cannabis oil production company, Organa Labs, and in the national best-selling personal vaporizer brand, O.penVAPE.