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US: Cannabis industry going on a hiring high in NY

The first time Kirk Lawrence got a job selling weed, it was in the 1990s at a record store in Far Rockaway, Queens, where he had to be discreet. In the years that followed, he was arrested over and over, feeling the consequences of police crackdowns on marijuana users.

There were rides in police vans, and lockups “for smoking outside my job,” Lawrence, now 45, said. But last month, he landed a job as a budtender, entering a new world where he now sells cannabis in the open at a Manhattan dispensary. “When this came up, I was like, why not?” he said.

He has joined one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. With recreational sales of cannabis recently launching in New York, companies are expected to go on a hiring spree over the next few years to fill thousands of cannabis-related jobs.

Legal cannabis is expected to generate 63,000 jobs across New York by 2025, according to an estimate by CannabizTeam, an industry executive search and staffing firm. In a recent report, the firm forecast that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut could surpass the West Coast region in sales and revenue over the next decade.


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