When recreational cannabis became legal in Nevada, Holly Cowden was a recruiter for the agricultural industry.
“I remember thinking, ‘How will they staff an industry that really doesn’t exist yet?’ ” she said. “That was when I decided to focus our staffing efforts on the cannabis industry, as I could use my years of experience to help.”
Cowden is the founder and managing partner of Trim Force, the first staffing agency for the cannabis industry in Clark County. It is hosting a drive-thru job fair April 20 for those looking to start a career in the cannabis industry.
What challenges do you face in staffing the cannabis industry in particular? Why focus on that industry?
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of people who hold agent cards. Agent cards require a background check and fingerprints, and provide workers with access to different areas in marijuana business facilities. Without these cards, you cannot work in the business. This is made even more challenging by the state making that process difficult and expensive. Unfortunately, when government regulators add expensive license requirements, it forces people to choose between paying a licensing fee to get a job or putting food on the table.
Since cannabis is illegal on the federal level, banking is another challenge. It took me a year to figure out a banking structure that worked for us.
On another note, the fact that there can be a stigma attached to working in the cannabis industry can sometimes be a personal challenge. I have learned that you really can’t take it personally. Just focus on your goals and surround yourself with people who encourage you and want you to succeed.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business? Or the cannabis industry overall?
When the pandemic first hit, I