Even as Maryland’s nascent medical marijuana program remains stuck in limbo and mired in controversy about diversity in the state’s selections for pre-licensed businesses, one business is already looking to hire.
Temescal Wellness is hosting an open house-style “diversity career fair” at Lithuanian Hall in Hollins Market on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Attendees can bring a resume and speak with directly with Temescal’s hiring managers and current employees.
Temescal currently runs two medical dispensaries in New Hampshire (recreational weed is still banned there) and plans to expand to Massachusetts (recently legal) and Maryland (still only medical). The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has given Temescal preliminary approval to grow, process and dispense marijuana in the state, which means the Maryland location should have a range of open positions available.
It’s unclear exactly where Temescal will be based, but the commission’s website indicates it will be in Baltimore County’s 11th district, northwest of the city.
Temescal’s president, Ted Rebholz, indicated in a release that his firm is seeking a diverse group of employees for its planned Maryland location. “Building a workforce that reflects the various backgrounds, opinions, experiences, and cultures of the community we serve is a key element of our mission,” he said in the release.
Dicy Painter, director of compliance and training for Temescal Wellness, said in an interview that they’re hiring patient service associates, production associates and retail managers.
“We want someone who’s definitely enthusiastic about cannabis,” she said. “We know with the industry being new that people may or may not have a lot of experience, but we’re looking for people who are willing to learn about compliance issues and be very by-the-book and follow all of the regulations to a T, even if that means things are slightly inconvenient.”
This issue of diversity has proven thorny so far as the state tries to roll out its medical cannabis program. Multiple businesses have sued the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, alleging its members didn’t pick enough minority-owned businesses when issuing preliminary licenses last year.
Members of the state’s Black Legislative Caucus have taken matters a step further, introducing bills this year to change the makeup of the commission “to reflect the racial diversity of the State,” boost legislative oversight of the commission and raise the number of pre-approved grower spots.
The commission has defended its commitment to diversity and even hired a diversity consultant to see if it could be doing a better job of factoring diversity into its picks.
It also recently conducted a survey of its pre-approved businesses to show they are in fact diverse. Data posted on the commission’s website indicate 35 percent of the businesses are minority-owned – specifically 15 percent by African-Americans, 10 percent by Asians, 5 percent by Hispanics and less than 1 percent by Native Americans. The data also indicate 60 percent of already-hired employees are racial or ethnic minorities.
Painter said diversity is a crucial part of Temescal’s hiring effort “because the diversity of the community should be represented in the staff. “A lot of minorities have sort of been pushed out of this industry,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re providing an opportunity for people to get in at the ground level.”
Temescal won’t be making offers on the spot, due to the business being “still in buildout right now,” Painter said. However, they do plan to begin offering candidates positions over the next six months.
Temescal Wellness’ career fair runs from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Lithuanian Hall. To register for the event, email contact information to RSVP@temescalwellness.com.
This story has been updated.