Ari Hoffnung jokingly apologized to anyone who expected brownies.
Not that anyone believed Scranton’s newly licensed medical marijuana grower would serve up pot-laced dessert at a job expo Tuesday. Instead, hundreds filed in to learn more about the dozens of family-sustaining jobs Pennsylvania Medical Solutions promises to bring.
Hoffnung, an executive with parent company Vireo Health based in Minnesota, addressed a standing-room-only crowd of hopeful chemists, lab technicians and growers vying for 30 jobs PAMS has planned for its facility off East Market Street, Scranton, which is now under renovation. The company also seeks qualified employees to fill management, security and quality control positions.
Hoffnung and his colleagues acknowledged, with a sparing dose of humor, the pervasive stigma surrounding growing medical marijuana.
They spent most of PAMS’ first public introduction to the Northeast Pennsylvania community describing a highly-organized operation with round-the-clock security and aggressive planning to brace for possible sudden regulatory shifts.
Growing marijuana is still a federal crime, but with 29 states including Pennsylvania dubbing it legal for some uses, the feds have relaxed enforcement.
It still makes simple business functions like banking or taking credit cards a massive headache or simply impossible, though.
So far 400 people have applied online for jobs, said Vireo founder and CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley. Nearly 300 people registered to attend three back-to-back sessions Tuesday night at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 co-hosted the expo.
Kingsley said he grew up