Karson Humiston isn't just a 24-year-old whose ventured into the world of legalized weed — she's also changing it.
While the cannabis marketplace is fairly new and therefore has an expansive list of possibilities, Humiston has found her calling in helping it move along as smoothly as possible. That's with the creation of her weed staffing agency, Vangst Talent.
"I can't tell you how many people I have who tell me, 'I want to get a job where I can work with weed,'" she told Broadly. "And these companies, they get flooded with people who are so passionate about cannabis and want to work with the plant but really don't have the hard skills necessary to do the job."
For a field already set to grow 27% by 2021, belonging to 28 states of legalized marijuana, it would make sense to have a trusting expert in the field who can put all the right people in the right places.
From the low-end job bud-tenders to the high-end executive role that just dished out its first $175,000 annually. But still, it's a slippery slope with the law.
"You can really mess something up and get in trouble with the state, and so having someone that's capable of working [retail] and someone capable of being a budtender—as crazy as it sounds, bud-tending is harder," said Humiston.
Messing up is something you definitely don't want to do in an industry that recently just totaled over $6.7 billion in legal marijuana sales in North America alone, with literally 87% of all sales belonging to only five U.S. states and Canada.
Still, the stigma exists. "The people who are brave and who jump in right now and take the risk are the ones who are going to be saying ten years from now, 'Thank God I did that," Humiston said.
And she'll definitely be among the longest-lasting careers when that time comes. Humiston made the decision straight out of college to venture into the field, due to a lack of creativity and excitement in anything else upon graduation.
It all started at a cannabis trade show in 2015. According to Fast Company, it was the Marijuana Investment Group that gave her the idea of being a recruiter. While they were hiring for positions such as junior staff accountants, marketing associates, and financial analysts, she found that they were solely coaxing their applicants to detail their transferable skills. And that's when it clicked. Who's vetting this industry for what it really needs to sustain itself?
She started pitching herself as a recruiter then and there for her company - which she also named on-the-spot - Gradujuana (the logo consisted of a weed leaf and a graduation cap). Soon thereafter moved to Denver to build on her connections and hone her skills.
Just last month she officially launched her job board, Vangsters, with over 7,900 people and 55 companies. Candidates use it for free while companies pay a monthly fee to post jobs and keep track of the demographic interested in their field.
And if you're thinking about jumping into it yourself, don't fret limits! As described by FC, a study from MJ Business Reportdetermined that 9"% of cannabis businesses have been founded by racial and ethnic minorities. Women hold 27% of executive-level roles in the industry overall, but in certain sectors those numbers are higher. For example, 42% of the executive positions at ancillary services companies are women, and 35% are women at medical dispensaries and recreational stores."
Check out the full Fast Company feature on Karson, and if you're looking for more deets on breaking into the business of legalized weed, Karson breaks it down on Rootd's podcast below.