Anyone who has ever been homeless understands that finding a second chance can be challenging. Not only are jobs scarce, but most of the time the salaries not substantial enough to help a person start over.
However, the cannabis industry is helping some people who are down on their luck get back on their feet, according to a recent report from WFMY-TV, which finds that a number of homeless people are making their way to Colorado in hopes of finding work in the legal marijuana trade.
“There’s an enormous migration, even a homeless movement, so to speak,” said David Spencer, who was homeless in Tennessee before traveling to Colorado. “I figured this would be a good place to start over.”
The idea of new beginnings has drawn thousands of homeless people from all over the country to the Denver area to look for work in the cannabis trade, which has many of the shelters concerned over space issues. “We were averaging 190 (homeless) last year. We’re now averaging 345 a night,” said Murray Flagg with the Salvation Army.
At the St. Francis Center, executive director Tom Luehrs says he is seeing an influx of people coming to the shelter who have expressed interest in working in the new legal pot market. “People see that the marijuana business has been flourishing here,” he said, “so they match up good business… and jobs must be available, which they are.”
“We’ve seen as many as 45 new people in one day,” Luehrs added. “I think it was one of the unintended consequences of the marijuana legalization.”
The current job listings on WeedHire indicate that some laborers in Denver are earning a starting wage of $11 per hour to weigh, label and package marijuana edibles, with previous reports of bud trimmers making $15 per hour. So, it stands to reason that the state is seeing an increase in homeless people looking for decent opportunities to better themselves.
Unfortunately, Colorado law will not allow outsiders to jump right into the cannabis industry. Workers must live in the state for at least one year before they can be considered for employment.