Marijuana Business Magazine September 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | September 2019 104 With The gig economy has permeated American culture as upstart companies such as DoorDash, Lyft and Uber and others offer people a way to make money whil e providing services consumers are demanding. Roughly 41 million Americans work as consultants, freelancers, contractors and temporary or on-call workers, generating $1.28 trillion of revenue for the U.S. economy last year, according to the State of Independence in America Report released by Virginia management services firmMBO Partners. That gig workers are plentiful is a win for Medicine Man and other cannabis companies that use temporary staff. These workers typically are available through agencies focused on providing labor to the cannabis industry. Employers may pay a premium hourly wage to the agency compared to what they pay a full-time employee, but they’re not paying workers’ compensation, han- dling payroll or paying payroll taxes for those employees. It’s also a flexible work- force: In addition to being hired when business is strong, these workers can be let go when business slows. On the flip side, employers can transition talented temps into full-time employees. Medicine Man uses temporary workers for low-level jobs such as schwazzing, an intense form of defoliation that involves removing many fan leaves from a plant to allow more light to pass through to the buds. “We have them do the repetitive work,” said Joshua Haupt, Medicine Man’s chief revenue officer and a cultivation guru. “We typically don’t use them for the detail-oriented work.” Turning to a Temp Agency Haupt’s temp agency of choice is Denver- based CoLove Cannabis Solutions. Nine people from the cannabis-focused recruitment firm can do the same work before lunch that it takes 12 people from another agency an entire day to complete, he said. “They’re the smallest but hands-down the best,” Haupt said. “They care about cannabis, and they care about the project they’re working on that day.” Positions for which Haupt won’t use temporary workers include making a nutrient mix, watering and transplanting clones. He also won’t use temp workers for any task that requires more than two hours of training, because he can’t invest that kind of time in an employee who isn’t on staff. Medicine Man has a “do not return list” that instructs CoLove not to send certain workers back to the company. But it also has been so pleased with some temps that it will bring them on as full-time workers. a harvest cycle that yields up to 110 pounds every two days, Denver-based Medicine Man finds it needs temporary workers daily. In fact, temporary—or gig—workers consistently make up 30% of Medicine Man’s staff. a good gig Many cannabis companies find they need temporary help to keep up with the growth of their businesses. If your company needs temporary workers, here are steps you can take to ensure they are more of a help than a hindrance: • Use a temporary agency that specializes in the cannabis industry. Most temp agencies handle background checks, workers’ comp and payroll taxes. • Use temporary workers for repetitive jobs such as schwazzing, an intense form of defoliation that involves removing many fan leaves from a plant to allow more light to pass through to the buds. • Don’t use temp workers for any tasks that require more than two hours of training—it’s a waste of time if they’re not your employees. • If you’re considering bringing temporary workers into the company on a permanent basis, make sure they are passionate about what they’re doing. Sweet Grass Kitchen uses temporary staff for packaging and labeling edibles products. Courtesy Photo