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CannaStaff: The Medical Marijuana Staffing Company

Written by StaffingTalk

CannaStaff: The Medical Marijuana Staffing CompanyAs a human race, we’re relatively predictable.

The majority of people probably have the same image in their heads that I did coming across a website for a staffing firm devoted to the medical marijuana industry:

Two guys in tie-dyed t-shirts chillin’ around the hookah. In my head, they bore a strong resemblance to Jeff Spicoli and were using their “heightened” perspective to brainstorm ideas for a new business.

I contacted the Denver-based company, CannaStaff, for an interview last week during normal business hours, and when I received a response circa 1 a.m., I felt my theory was closer to reality than I thought.

But upon speaking to CannaStaff President Travis Howard, all the banal puns I’d planned to make went up in smoke.

Howard is a business attorney who formed the parent company CannaCounsel with partner Neil Demers, who is the COO of CannaStaff, in 2010.

Since I don’t want to assume that by now everyone knows where the term medical marijuana came from, I’ll give you a rundown of what ailments the plant has been found to abate: Cancer, glaucoma, severe pain, even anorexia.

Over the last year, Colorado introduced two bills, HB 1284 and HB 1043.

Fifteen states allow medicinal marijuana use.  Which means the need for trained individuals in the medical marijuana industry has grown like a weed.

Meanwhile, Howard, a business attorney with a background in running large companies, wanted to get involved in the  industry after watching his sister-in-law, a cancer victim, go through trials of dealing with bureaucracy for a drug that would ultimately help her.

The combination of personal interest and Colorado’s so-called “cleanup bill” efforts spurred Howard into action.

“That’s when I saw the need and opportunities for medical marijuana staffing,” Howard told me. “You have an industry ripe for a staffing presence.”

He had just the person in mind, too – his business partner and now-COO of CannaStaff, Neil Demers. Demers, who has a master’s degree in finance, liked the idea.

Both men felt that the medical marijuana industry needed them.

CannaStaff finds work for employees in Denver’s medical marijuana dispensaries. The positions range from professional trimmers and budtenders to chefs and marketing managers.

Howard said that CannaStaff places trimmers regularly, as “these people play a big role” when it comes to medical marijuana patients. The dispensaries need a temporary crew depending on harvest cycles, sometimes 10-15 people.

CannaStaff: The Medical Marijuana Staffing CompanyMaster growers are “kind of the high-end training,” Howard added.

Howard said that since the brand began in fall 2010, CannaStaff has placed about 100 people in medical marijuana dispensaries. “I can safely say that we’ve interviewed 1,000 people,” Howard said.

Howard speaks with passion when he says he is sickened by the reliance terminally ill people have on synthetic painkillers, like Vicodin or Oxycontin,which are doled out frequently by the medical industry.

“We are creating hardcore drug addicts,” he said.

Yet, he continued, so many people have been brainwashed to think of marijuana as one of the hardcore drugs, as opposed to an earthy, “real” medicine that can be obtained at respectable dispensaries. Rhetorically, Howard asks why our body has a system that allows this substance to attack the illnesses if we’re not supposed to be ingesting it.

CannaStaff wants to dispel the myth that the medical marijuana industry is full of “dirty drug traffickers,” which keeps CannaStaff fighting a constant uphill battle to promote its legitimacy. Howard has even had colleagues de-friend him on social networking sites.

What are they afraid of, a contact high? No, Howard said, they are afraid of looking unprofessional in front of potential employers if they are associated with pot in any way.

Howard’s pipe dream (sorry!) is to see the future of medical marijuana evolving to where we see physicians trained to work solely in the dispensaries. We think it’s high time you gave them a chance!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. gregg dourgarian

    gotta love a guy who’s still working at 1am. Great story, Regan.

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  2. Gerdy

    Do they staff apprentices? No, really, way to pioneer a niche! It’s absurd the amount of money our country funnels into the fight on marijuana. Why wouldn’t we regulate, tax and generate profit from it? Right, our government doesn’t need money. We’ll just borrow from other countries. We’ll put over $9 Billion a year into dealing with marijuana issues. We’ll clog up our court systems and overcrowd our prisons. No worries.

    When you have seen someone in illness suffer and have those ailments somewhat alleviated by smoking a joint, you begin to look at it in a whole new light. I agree with Howard entirely. We are creating hardcore drug addicts. Why is this acceptable? People are alright with Grandma getting prescribed synthetic heroin to ease her pain rather than Grandma smoking a joint? If it were your Grandma you would want her to possibly have the munchies and some giggles rather than drool and unconsciousness. Sleeping through pain is not living and it is heart wrenching to witness. Much of America’s still in a Reefer Madness cloud of confusion! This is a business opportunity which some state governments understand, some don’t. Kudos to Travis Howard for recognizing this need and legitimately pursuing it!

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  3. Joseph

    Hey there, I know this is an old article, but upon working on my re-design of the CannaStaff site, I stumbled across this and felt totally embarrassed. That snapshot you have is of the old website theme I designed for the team since I began working with Neil as the Marketing and Design manager. In the year’s time that I’ve worked for Neil as his personal graphic designer, I had the privileged to become an even greater website designer. Neil pushed me to my limits, and now our designs are so sleek and professional we’re opening a new company dedicated for graphic design and website design. Anywho, I have to admit, that was one of my very early works when I just got out of college, so I’m very embarrassed about my past work after reading this article! Haha! I hope you have something better to say about our new site, and you are welcome to interview us again any time!

    Best Regards
    Joseph Milnes,
    Marketing & Design Manager for Cannastaff.

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  4. Stephen barber

    Hello I am looking for mmj work… I have my support badge already just looking for the chance to have long term employment in the mmj field

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