How do I get in?
by Shanon Jaramillo
What are the requirements to work in the medical cannabis field in New Mexico? While information gaps still exist on this topic, we're getting better at figuring it out, together. This is good news for heads who are seriously seeking employment in the industry!
According to quite a few dispensary managers in our area, they receive approximately 30 applications per week. Most applicants indicate a willingness to “do anything or take any job available” with very little direction or likeness to the positions advertised. This tells us a few things. The marketplace is highly competitive and it may be time for employers and regulators to become clearer about what they want from their applying prospects. Job seekers are also challenged to gain more focus and cannabis education when applying. Imagine how many great people are missing out, due to this simple grey area. This is where CannabisNM Staffing, LLC comes in. We’re here to help you find your dream job and employers to find dream employees!
In order to gain employment in the medical cannabis industry in the state of New Mexico, the Department of Health (DOH) asks all Licensed Nonprofit Producers (LNPPs) to complete a Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) License Identification Card Request for every employee during the on-boarding and business re-licensure period.
To obtain a MCP License ID Card, the DOH states that one must meet the following requirements:
1. Be a New Mexico state resident. Must possess a valid New Mexico state ID. While outside residency may be accepted with some employers, it’s best to have state identification from the MVD New Mexico situated prior to applying. DL & ID Cards vary in price
2. Complete and pass a New Mexico State background check through the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. $15.00 plus cost of a notary public & postage. Turnaround time depends on your record.
3. Complete and pass a National background check. We suggest Sentrylink.com as an acceptable background check web site. $19.95 plus taxes. Turnaround time is immediate.
4. Complete New Mexico HIPAA training and obtain certificate. $19.95-$50.00 depending on where you take the class. Turnaround time is usually 1-2 hour class plus exam.
5. Depending on the position acquired, complete a Food Handler’s Safety course and obtain certificate $19.95-$50.00 depending on where you take the class. Turnaround time also depends on where you take the class.
Employers and the DOH require that you are able to pass all of the above in order to become a compliant employee within the MCP, however it is not required that you obtain these pre-screening qualifications until you have been selected for work, are in final interviews, offered a position or are marketing yourself to get a job. The documents issued for each requirement are time sensitive and are part of the on-boarding process when hired. Think of it this way, the farther along in the process you are and the more you know about your background and the requirements, the better the chances of working in the new and largely sought after cannabis industry. **New employees will be required to have their MCP ID card in hand before their first day (including training), no exceptions. **
Our job seeking neighbors in Colorado have the MED Badge, overseen by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). And in Oregon, job seekers can apply for a Marijuana Worker Permit through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). While New Mexico seems to have a similar program through the DOH, job seekers cannot apply themselves for an MCP License ID Card like our buddies next door. What is the point? The current program through the DOH only allows LNPPs to apply for MCP ID Cards on behalf of their new hires and current employees, leaving job seekers to wing it when they apply for jobs in New Mexico.
What to work on from here:
From our recruitment experiences, the CannabisNM Staffing team has the following suggestions for serious contenders who REALLY want to work in cannabis: (1) improve your cannabis resume and cover letter, (2) gain cannabis education and training, (3) gain exposure to the cannabis plant, (4) learn and use botanical terminology, (5) show work experience/stability as it relates to the position, (6) know the New Mexico MCP, (7) learn advocacy and become active, and (8) be able to communicate concisely about your passion to work in the industry. There are few negotiable within our suggestions, but for the most part, the candidates who are chosen for employment, have tackled all 8. The focused, reliable, educated, and compassionate seem more likely to succeed in cannabis. I hope this information helps you to achieve your vision of “getting in”.
-SJ, Founder, CannabisNM Staffing, LLC