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Job seekers attend a marijuana industry job fair in Denver on Thursday. The fair was attended by prospective employers ranging from marijuana retail stores to cannabis tour companies.

Jobs in a budding market

Denver hosts fair for state’s new marijuana businesses

– When Tim Cullen was opening his first marijuana business four years ago, the high-school-biology-teacher-turned-pot-entrepreneur struggled to get résumés and references from job applicants.

“Everyone’s experience was on the black market,” Cullen said. Now, he said, “it’s come out of the closet.”

Out of the closet, down the street and around the corner. That’s where the line of hopefuls stretched Thursday outside a central Denver office building that was hosting a marijuana industry job fair.

Cullen, who owns two retail marijuana shops and is a partner in a company that makes hash oil and another that makes vaporizers, was among representatives from about a dozen businesses reviewing applications.

O.penVAPE, Cullen’s vaporizers company, organized the fair to meet its own growing staffing needs and help others in the industry, said company spokesman Todd Mitchem.

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved sales of marijuana for recreational use in 2012, and recreational sales began first in Colorado, in January. This week, in the world’s first such accounting, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported the state made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January; that is expected to grow as more retailers are licensed.

Among the employers at Thursday’s job fair was a tour company looking for guides to help pot tourists navigate Colorado’s newest industry.

Hemp Temps, a specialist staffing agency, and Medicine Man, a dispensary, were also hunting for candidates. Job descriptions included bud tender, sales representative and web designer.

Mitchem said the company may need a bigger venue for the next fair, which he said is already in the works.

Ian Howe, among the job seekers in line Thursday, said he was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and hoped to find work with a company that infuses marijuana into foods, or try his hand at growing marijuana.

Howe, 23, said he moved to Colorado just 3 1/2 weeks ago and found the state a good fit.

“I’ve always been an outdoorsy guy, and I’ve always liked to smoke weed,” he said.

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