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Organizer of cannabis job fair aims to dispel misconceptions

First, a few perhaps disillusioning basics.

No, new employees don’t get to sample in their training sessions the stuff they’ll be selling. No, employees don’t get to take home a bag of the merchandise as a weekly employee perk. And, no, the product isn’t provided to employees as a lunchtime freebie.

Seems obvious, sure, but all worth noting anyway when the product in question is medical marijuana.

On Sunday, Terra Tech Corp., which plans to open several medical marijuana dispensaries around the state during the next several months, will host a job fair in the second-floor ballroom of the Palms’ Fantasy Tower, 4321 W. Flamingo Road.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The company says it will be filling more than 100 jobs by year’s end for employees at its dispensaries and cultivation and extraction facilities in Nevada.

The dispensary jobs aren’t very different from other retailing jobs, says Derek Peterson, Terra Tech’s president and CEO.

What is different: Applicants probably won’t have prior experience selling — at least, not legally — the product in question.

According to Peterson, Terra Tech plans to open four retail dispensaries in Nevada. Three of those, operating under the store name Blum, will be in Southern Nevada, on Western Avenue, Desert Inn Road near the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Decatur Boulevard and Twain Avenue.

The Western Avenue location will open in a few weeks, Peterson says, followed by the Desert Inn and Decatur locations.

Terra Tech also will be hiring employees for cultivation facilities in Reno and in Clark County and extraction facilities in Reno and in Clark County, Peterson says.

Peterson notes Terra Tech has been operating in California for several years. He says that, while it’s not an analogy he’s fond of using, opening a medical marijuana dispensary is “like opening a restaurant.”

New hires will be trained not only in retailing, but in gaining “a deep knowledge of cannabis and how it works with different ailments,” Peterson says. “If I’m suffering lower back pain, for example, there are some strains that will make me feel better and reduce inflammation and other strains that will exacerbate the pain and make me focus on it more.

“So what we’re looking for is not necessarily anybody with deep experience with the product, because we can certainly train them in that, but someone who works retail with customers and has a talent for having that interaction. We love people from this service industry — waiters, waitresses, bartenders.”

Casino food service work would be perfect experience, Peterson adds. “To me, (Las Vegas) is one of the premier places on Earth in terms of food quality and food service. The product is just not $1.99 steak and eggs anymore.”

Also being sought are military veterans, Peterson says, adding that, because the medical marijuana industry is new to Nevada, new hires will have the opportunity to “grow up in our business.”

“It’s a black market business moving over to an overt market,” he says. “We’re a publicly traded company, so we’ve moved from the black market to the stock market.”

Because marijuana will be the product being sold, Peterson admits that he has heard a few misconceptions about how the business operates and what it involves.

Applicants will “find this an extremely well-orchestrated professional organization, and we really want to make sure the people we’re hiring understand that,” he says. “This isn’t sitting on bean bags with lava lamps and smoking pot all day.

“It’s not only retail, but retail in a highly regulated and competitive market.”

— Read more from John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com and follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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