Students at the University of Connecticut studying cannabis said there are promising job prospects post-graduation.
Gair Laucius is an applied biochemistry graduate student and works in the UConn horticulture cannabis lab. After graduation, Laucius plans on working in a marijuana grow facility that supplies to the recreational or medicinal market as an extraction supervisor.
“Marijuana extraction is the process in which the cannabinoids are extracted from the marijuana plant itself,” Laucius said. “This creates end products such as CBD oil.”
Evert McKee, seventh-semester sustainable agriculture major, plans to work for an established cannabis company after graduation, then build a network and create a name for himself.
“I might end up doing this on my own terms by hosting an intern program on my future farm,” McKee said.
McKee said he also has plans to work with his brother who will soon be a certified chef to start an edible company in New England.
Laucius said in Connecticut, only medical marijuana jobs are available, so those jobs are often limited often to those in the STEM fields for quality control testing, research and development.
In places where recreational marijuana is legal, Laucius said job opportunities are expanding.
“Recreationally legal states open the door for more students as the marijuana companies are much larger and there is a necessity for business students more so than here in Connecticut,” Laucius said.
Laucius said now is as good a time as ever to enter the cannabis industry, as it is experiencing such massive growth.
“There are lots of job opportunities and the salaries are extremely competitive,” Laucius said.
McKee said prospective cannabis-industry workers should ask themselves where they would best be able to serve.
“There are growers, lab scientists, extractors, bud tenders, distributors, marketers, lawyers, hash producers, glass blowers, chefs, the list goes on,” McKee said. “Whatever it is that you do, do it well.”
Cannabis seeds are considered a superfood, McKee said, and the fibers can make a material 11 times stronger than steel but 10 times lighter.
“Hemp can literally take down the plastic industry, the paper industry and the steel industry,” McKee said.
McKee said from an early age he could see that the biggest economic players in society were against marijuana, as it is still categorized federally as a schedule one drug.
“This means it has no known medical benefits to society,” McKee said. “How can this be when there are dozens of peer reviewed studies in accredited medical science journals that show immense benefits from cannabinoids?”
The medicinal market is helpful for people especially suffering from debilitating diseases, Laucius said.
“It can help ease pain for cancer patients and anxiety for (people with) PTSD,” Laucius said.
He said he sees benefits in the legal recreational cannabis market as well.
“(It) has many advantages over being purchased on the ‘black market’ and can serve as an important source of tax revenue for states,” Laucius said.
McKee describes cannabis flower production as a “cash crop,” and said that with cannabis, communities could manage themselves. He also thinks that taxes are unfair.
“I think a Boston Tea Party 2.0 is brewing,” McKee said. “We can call it the California Weed Party.”
A possible solution to this would be deregulating cannabis all together, McKee said.
“It’s a plant from nature. I’m an animal from nature. Leave us alone,” McKee said.
McKee and Laucius are both happy to see more states legalizing marijuana.
“I’m happy it’s becoming legal, which should warm your heart considering the Constitution is written on hemp,” McKee said.
Ashley Anglisano is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.