Although Colorado legalized cannabis in 2014, it’s taken nearly five years to pass legislation for social consumption. Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis signed the Marijuana Hospitality bill and Regulated Marijuana Delivery bill at the end of May 2019. This is a huge step forward for Colorado’s cannabis industry. The Hospitality bill is the first of its kind to pass, finally allowing social consumption lounges to take place. Before, legal places to consume (outside of private residences) were essentially non-existent. This created a significant hurdle for out-of-state visitors or Coloradans unable to indulge at home.
In addition to House Bill 19-1230 (the Marijuana Hospitality Bill), Polis signed House Bill 19-1234, allowing for the delivery of cannabis through licensed businesses. This bill significantly improves the accessibility of cannabis to Colorado residents who don’t have a car, have limited mobility, or those who simply prefer the ease of delivery.
The addition of both bills creates a host of potential new job opportunities for the state’s legal industry. Before we dive into future areas of growth, let’s take a closer look at the logistics of each bill.
House Bill 19-1230 – Marijuana Hospitality Bill
Similar to Colorado’s current cannabis legislation, local municipalities can choose to allow or ban the implementation of the bill. The Colorado government website summarizes,
“… the act authorizes marijuana hospitality spaces in which medical and retail marijuana may be consumed on site and retail marijuana hospitality and sales establishments in which retail marijuana, retail marijuana concentrate, and retail marijuana products may be sold and consumed on site.”
Essentially, dispensaries can now apply for “tasting room” licenses and establishments such as hotels, restaurants, music venues, coffee shops and yoga studios can apply for a license that allows for the consumption and sale of cannabis to take place on the premises. There are a few hurdles, for example the establishment can’t hold both a hospitality establishment license and a liquor license, so already established music venues, restaurants, hotels and locations that currently sell liquor are unable to participate unless they surrender their liquor license. Liquor is a huge revenue generator for many establishments, so it’s unlikely your favorite restaurant or music venue will make the switch. However, this bill opens the door for new opportunities and ventures to take place, and with them, bring more jobs. Businesses can apply for marijuana hospitality licenses in early 2020.
House Bill 19-1234 – Cannabis Delivery Bill
Just like the Marijuana Hospitality Bill, local Colorado jurisdictions have the option to allow or ban cannabis delivery. The Colorado government website states,
“The act creates marijuana delivery permits for licensed medical marijuana centers and transporters and licensed retail marijuana stores and transporters that allow the centers, stores, and transporters to deliver medical marijuana, medical marijuana-infused products, retail marijuana, and retail marijuana products to customers.”
While the logistics are still being ironed out, the bill as a whole introduces a regulated system for cannabis delivery in Colorado. Businesses must obtain a permit for delivery, permits are valid for one year and businesses must reapply each year to qualify. Each delivery assesses a fee of $1 that goes to local governments to assist in legal cannabis regulation. The act also requires training programs for the delivery departments. Medical delivery is set to implement in 2020, and retail delivery will begin the implementation process in 2021.
Although there’s no official framework for new jobs, both bills naturally introduce the need for additional staff. If you want to work in the cannabis industry but maybe haven’t found the right fit, keep an eye out for these potential opportunities coming soon!
Potential New Cannabis Job Opportunities in Colorado
Tasting Room Staff
With the ability for dispensaries to add tasting rooms to their locations, tasting staff positions are inevitable. Some locations might add this additional responsibility to the budtender’s duties, but larger operations with high daily traffic will likely add a position to their staff that specializes in the tasting room/consumption lounge experience. Tasting room positions are very customer experience focused. In addition, tasting room staff must have extensive knowledge of the store’s product and cannabis as a whole. If you’re very personable, are very knowledgeable about cannabis and enjoy the challenge of matching the perfect strain to the customer, a tasting room position may be a good fit for you.
Similar to Amsterdam’s famed coffee shops, we’ll likely see the addition of cannabis smoking lounges in Colorado with the introduction of House Bill 19-1230. Lounges are similar to a bar, where patrons can purchase and consume cannabis on-site. A wide range of positions are necessary to successfully run a cannabis lounge. From a bouncer to a lounge manager, budtender to a host, the positions are limitless for consumption lounges.
Restaurants, yoga studio, art galleries and non-cannabis focused venues that want to implement cannabis consumption areas may also choose to hire a cannabis host or budtender to facilitate the experience.
Delivery drivers will likely be in high demand once the bill goes live. Unlike most other lower-regulation industries, cannabis delivery drivers must receive proper training on the nuances of the industry, such as checking IDs and seed to sale tracking. Larger dispensaries with locations across the state may choose to hire managers to oversee the delivery operations and staff, and opt for creating an entire delivery department. In California, fleet operations are already a part of large cannabis businesses, and Colorado will likely see a similar large-scale model for corporations with multiple dispensary locations. Fleet operations require many positions to execute the transportation of goods. These departments include a Fleet Manager, Fleet Coordinator, Maintenance Manager and other various supervisor roles.
If you have prior fleet operation experience or enjoy the independence of driving a vehicle and can adamantly adhere to the cannabis industry regulations, keep an eye out for delivery positions coming in 2020 and 2021.
With the additions of two new sectors in the industry — delivery and social consumption venues, the bills introduce a whole new set of regulations that require strict compliance. The Colorado cannabis industry provides no wiggle room in their laws, and the slightest misstep can cause detrimental effects for companies. Most businesses take their compliance very seriously, and with good reason. Additional compliance positions for the oversight of delivery operations and social consumption venues are necessary. With consumption soon allowed on-site, bouncers who check IDs and check for marijuana over-intoxication are needed for successful operations.
The signing of House Bills 19-1234 and 19-1230 are exciting for both cannabis consumers and job seekers alike. As always, employees must have a MED badge to work in the cannabis industry. If you’re interested in these potential future opportunities, make sure to secure your badge today. Check out our guide on How to Get Your MED Badge to get a head start. What new job are you most interested in pursuing? Let us know in the comments below!
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