British Columbia

Got experience in cannabis and customer service? The B.C. government is hiring

A job fair is being held in Kamloops this week for positions at the B.C. government's first pot shop ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana in October.

Job fair seeks staff for government's first pot store — but hiring those with cannabis charges is a grey area

The government-run shop will be selling dried flowers, cannabis oil, capsules, seeds and cannabis accessories. Other products, like edibles, have not been approved yet. (Ellen Jaskol/GrowForce)

Kamloops will be home to British Columbia's first government-run cannabis store this fall — and it's now looking for staff.

A job fair is being held this week for positions at the shop ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana in October.

"We are on the lookout for quite a few people," said Kate Bilney of the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, which is overseeing the sale of cannabis in the province.

About 20 people are needed for the first store, she said, from managers to assistants to cannabis consultants.

Experience in a legal grey zone

In any job posting, previous experience is a must. But when it comes to the budding cannabis industry, it's a challenge.

"A lot of people won't have any previous experience in the industry given that it is a new industry but, as we all know, B.C. is well known for its existing cannabis culture," Bilney told Doug Herbert, guest host of CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.

That means a general understanding of cannabis will be looked at, as well as things like experience in retail and customer service jobs.

Staff will have to undergo in-house training along with a provincial training program similar to the mandatory Serving It Right for people working with liquor, Bilney said. 

But given that cannabis use is still illegal, hiring someone with a criminal record of cannabis-related charges is something of a grey zone.

"As a provincial government, we do criminal record checks as part of our recruitment process," Bilney said. "That will be something that will be considered at the time of that process happening."

The job fair takes place Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Four Points hotel at 1175 Rogers Way.

The store is set to open on Oct. 17, the same day cannabis is legalized across the country.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops.

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