Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oklahoma are now hiring
As the nationwide worker shortage persists, it appears that no industry is an exception to the phenomenon. Even marijuana dispensaries in Oklahoma are struggling to hire and retain new staff. Despite offering higher wages and competitive benefits, there are simply not enough Oklahomans in the labor market who are without work, even with Oklahoma’s unemployment rate dropping to pre-pandemic levels.
Consider Fire Leaf, a marijuana dispensary that currently operates eight separate locations in central Oklahoma. According to marketing director Allison Griffith, they are suffering from the same struggles that everybody in the retail industry is facing. Despite being one of the more competitive dispensaries, employee-wise, people tend to shy away from positions in the public when there’s a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The pandemic has changed how businesses operate. Many chose to remain remote, even as office buildings were permitted to open. Remote work is more attractive to some employees and allows them to work in states outside of Oklahoma. While Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is down, the state’s workers aren’t working in restaurants or cannabis dispensaries. Instead, they’re working from home on their laptops.
Dispensaries and other medical marijuana businesses compete with restaurants and other customer service jobs in the potential employee pool. Marijuana is a growing industry nationwide and in the state, which thins the number of applicants for other industries. An estimated 45,000 people work in Oklahoma’s cannabis industry. That number is expected to explode if Oklahoma lawmakers ever legalize the recreational sale of marijuana.
Medical marijuana dispensaries were considered essential when restaurants and other customer service industries were forced to close. Fire Leaf enjoyed a surge in applicants during 2020, when customer service employees were forced out of work. However, once the lockdowns were lifted, the applicant pool couldn’t keep up with the state’s growing marijuana industry.