Shelley Jones can finally reveal her work experience without fearing arrest.
For a quarter-century she has grown marijuana in her Westville basement to smoke, now a workplace skill just like any other that she wrote down on a resume and handed in to the Truro Herbal Company, during their Nov. 3 job fair at the Best Western Glengarry.
“I’m looking for work in the new and upcoming future of Canada and I hope to have a big part in that if I can,” said Jones. “What is my experience? I have 25 years between smoking and growing and everything else that goes with it.”
The company that Jones hopes to join was founded four years ago in Truro and describes itself as a license-ready producer of both medical and recreational marijuana. Truro Herbal has already built a 20,000 square-foot facility in the Truro Business Park that can produce three million grams of legal weed per year.
The company will need up to 50 full-time employees to reach its aim of full-capacity weed cultivation by next spring. Jobs are available in growing, production, maintenance, shipping/receiving, sales, customer service, administration, security, quality control, human resources, IT and finance. Jobs requiring skilled trades experience will also be available, as well as internships and student roles.
However, competition for such positions will be stiff, as 300 applicants had already dropped off resumes by noon on Saturday and company representatives expected at least 500 candidates to show up.
Truro Herbal’s job fair drew candidates from Halifax, Pictou County and elsewhere in Nova Scotia, as well as local people.
One out-of-town candidate was Haligonian Chyloe Gallant, a carpenter and manufacturing engineer by trade who graduated from the Nova Scotia Community College in 2007.
“I’m mechanically inclined. I find that transfers really well to any job that I’ve ended up having, with that knowledge,” said Gallant. “I work mainly as a finish carpenter, I take great care to attention to detail and quality assurance for my work and that’s probably where I would have the best opportunity to showcase those skills.”
Gallant’s introduction to marijuana came after she suffered a workplace fall just after finishing college, leaving her with severe back, neck and hip injuries. A medical marijuana prescription finally relieved the chronic pain she suffered as a result, allowing her to return to the workforce and try her luck with the legal cannabis industry.
“A legal job within the cannabis industry would be a dream come true. Especially one where I could remain in the province and develop our industry for our own province,” wrote Gallant in her cover letter to Truro Herbal.
While the overall mood was upbeat, one man from East Hants, sporting dreadlocks and loose jeans, voiced fears about being able to cross the American border if he took a job with Truro Herbal.
“I’m concerned about that, I was actually meaning to ask somebody about it,” said the man, who did not want to be identified.
Nine American states have legalized recreational marijuana, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level and the Trump Administration has taken a hard line on its use.
Canadians working for legal marijuana companies may face more intense questioning and scrutiny at the border and risk being permanently banned from entering the United States.
It is also illegal to bring marijuana across the border, even from the U.S. into Canada. Those caught will face arrest, fines and even criminal convictions. People and vehicles are liable to be searched if border guards suspect they have any marijuana on them.
Anyone who admits to past marijuana use, or is caught lying about it, will also be refused entry.
Such draconian measures may be a daunting prospect for future THC employees, but company vice-president Sandy Schembri said that federal agencies had to work out border issues.
“Internally, we have to support our employees doing any of that business. We’re small enough at this point that we haven’t had to do a lot of international exchanges,” said Schembri. “It’s a new world and I feel like the border issues hopefully won’t be long-run and maybe it’s just a short-term response to the new changes.”