Job seekers attend the CannaSearch marijuana job fair at Mile High Station September 16, 2014 hoping to land a job in the Cannabis industry. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Little excitement, crowds at second marijuana job fair

With 31 marijuana-related companies present for Tuesday’s job fair in Denver, CannaSearch looked to build on the success of its first job fair held in March. Instead, what seemed like a steep drop in attendance meant job seekers had ample opportunities to talk one-on-one with prospective employers.

CannaSearch organizers had touted more than 500 available jobs in advance of the event, and they surely expected the turnout to rival the estimated 1,200 attendees at the inaugural job fair, which prompted a move to the Mile High Station space. While organizers say Tuesday’s fair drew more than 2,100 job seekers, attendance seemed thin on Tuesday. A majority of employers also advertised fewer than a handful of positions, so the trickle of guests we witnessed in the hours we spent there meant fewer lines — and potential new hires.

Video: Get a closer look at the scene for the Sept. 16 marijuana job fair in Denver

The crowd, with résumés in hand, varied from suits and button-up shirts to jeans and T-shirts, and checked out job titles that ranged from budtender to business developer. As a professional event, no cannabis consumption was allowed on the premises, although that didn’t stop several less-than-discreet vaporizer owners. In fact, several marketing pieces seemed geared toward people who didn’t understand the protocols of attending a job fair; flatscreen TVs reminded attendees about basics like making eye contact and smiling.

Job seeker Giana, who asked that her last name be withheld over concerns about her current employer hearing she attended a cannabis job fair, found some of the services helpful. “The résumé station was great,” Giana said of the Sprout House booth. “They took a look at what we had and recommended changes right there.”

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In addition, panels ran throughout the day, discussing how to navigate the fair, the cannabis job industry, and how to interview for a job. Some of the advice seemed extraneous, however, considering the work experience of some in attendance. Stephen Sullivan, president of Ms. Mary Staffing, said his company “had seen five MBAs” by noon, noting the tough jobs market.

For many, moving to Colorado and scoring a job in cannabis hasn’t been easy. Michael Moshier, 45, came to Denver from Minnesota six months ago after working in sports photography and as an on-call bartender. “With the new industry, I came out here to be a part of the green rush like everyone else,” Moshier said after checking out a booth for a cannabis tour company. “I’m trying to find a job that combines education and entertainment.”

With competition less fierce than advertised, he may have finally found his profession.

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Luke Ramirez of Walking Raven talks about the Cannasearch job fair.
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