The cannabis industry has taken the state of N.J. by storm, which is why Rowan’s Rorher College of Business held a career fair called, “Careers in Cannabis Industry Networking Night” on Nov. 1, at Business Hall. Students were able to talk to experts in the industry and show the different career opportunities that do not involve directly touching the product.
From July 2022 to Sept. 2022, sales receipts on recreational and medicinal cannabis in NJ have totaled over $177 million. Jennifer Maden, assistant dean and director of Graduate Studies, says it could potentially be bigger than that.
“We’re talking about the potential of billions of dollars. Here in New Jersey alone it’s thought that it can be a huge revenue driver and the opportunity for new jobs in the state,” said Maden.
Jobs were the main topic of the night. The industry has opened many career opportunities that don’t necessarily involve owning or working in a dispensary.
“Maybe I really love the plant maybe I’ll open a cultivation, maybe I’m interested in distribution and supply chain so maybe I’ll get into the delivery side. There are so many opportunities,” said Maden.
Amie Ryno, director of Rohrer College of Business Center for Professional Development (RCPD), along with Elisabeth Parker, assistant director of RCPD, brought in a vast majority of experts who work behind the scenes of the cannabis industry such as those working in accounting and those in real estate.
“We always approach it from an ancillary angle, where the jobs our guests are talking about are related to the business industry. It’s such a booming industry. There are jobs in accounting and they’re new and they are needed and it’s an exciting industry for a lot of students,” said Parker.
In general, a company that would want to appear at a career fair will pay for a table to help subsidize the event but with cannabis it’s different. Due to the legalization of cannabis in certain states, it’s important that they approach it as an ancillary service due to the risk of losing federal funding for the school since cannabis is still federally illegal. This means a marketing company that has a cannabis organization as a client would be allowed to participate, but a cannabis firm run by a multistate operator is not due to being recognized as a plant-touching organization.
“We can’t allow them entry. A university right now runs a major risk if they were to take money from a plant-touching firm to come in and participate in a career fair,” said Maden.
About 60 students attended the event and were broken down into groups. Each group rotated with an 8-minute time limit, and they could go table to table, a total of seven, and speak with the experts. After each group was able to get to each table, any student who wanted to talk one-on-one with an expert could at the conclusion of the event. Michael Turner, managing member and president at Burton Trent Public Affairs LLC was one of those experts who encouraged the students to work for someone in the cannabis industry and learn the business.
“If you’re a business administration major learn how to run the business, how to manage supply chain issues, how to manage payroll, how to do all those things you can do for any other business, but this business just happens to be cannabis,” said Turner.
The cannabis industry is growing exponentially, and new career options will continue to open, students need opportunities to network with potential employers.
“We found that having students in this sort of this intimate space is really valuable because they get exposed to different perspectives, they always walk away with new knowledge, and they make 10 new connections in one night. This is more personalized,” said Ryno.