By Dr. Robin Goins

Interested in a career in cannabis or are you already in the industry and need some extra support? Residents of the Coachella Valley have the opportunity to have it all, and free of charge thanks to the State of California EDD! On October 22nd – 24th the first annual Cannabis Education and Career Expo is coming to the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs.

This event is sponsored by The State of California, The Southern California Cannabis Council and Western Education Institute. The three-day event is jammed packed with activities and attendees will receive free training. On Tuesday the 22nd the event kicks off with the Legislative Summit, which is the only ticketed event. The day begins from 10:00am with cannabis tours of local cannabis businesses in the Palm Springs / Cathedral City area. At 2:00pm attendees will hear from a panel of Mayors from Coachella Valley as they discuss the economic impact, challenges and victories of the cannabis industry in their jurisdictions.

Mayors in attendance include Mayor Scott Matas of Desert Hot Springs, Mayor Lupe Ramos Ameth of Indio and Mayor Mark Carnevale of Cathedral City. The Masters of Ceremonies is Dirk Voss, former Chairman of the Desert Hot Springs Planning Commission, which approved many of the cannabis businesses in the city. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the Mayor Panel.

Tuesday concludes with the evening event featuring keynote speaker Riverside County Supervisor Manuel Perez. Other speakers include Kristen Heidelbach International Representative/Cannabis Division Director, Teamsters and a member of the BCC Cannabis Advisory Committee, legislative updates from the California Cannabis Coalition’s President Ryan Bacchas and an update on the challenges of social justice and inclusion with the current federal cannabis banking bill by CCIA’s Yarrow Kubrin. Tickets are on sale for $75.00 and can be purchased at the SCCCouncil.org.

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Wednesday and Thursday are free to the public. Wednesday’s schedule consists of free training for both employers and employees who need to understand the business requirements and best practices for the industry. Those who complete the training track will receive a certificate of completion for either their job development or as potential employees in the industry from Western Education Institute.

Employer topics include presentations from the State EDD Unemployment Insurance Branch, the Tax Branch, Disability Insurance Branch, the State California Department of Food and Agriculture – CalCannabis, the California Department of Public Health – Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch and the California Employment Development Department – Labor Market Information Division.

Job seekers training and topics include An Overview of the Cannabis Job Market, Careers in Cannabis & Transferrable Skills, Live Scanning – What It Means in Cannabis, The Importance of Employee Compliance in Cannabis, Knowing Your Labor Rights in Cannabis & Social Equity and Cannabis Career Training Options. Expert panelists from throughout the cannabis industry will be speaking, including the Director of HR from KIVA Confections and Joe Devlin, Senior Vice President of Ikänik Farms, Inc. The day concludes with a free mixer for job seekers and employers.

The event concludes Thursday with the career expo where job seekers can meet and apply with potential cannabis employers. Regional, state and national employers will be represented. Special training is also available and includes a special 4-hour Cannabis Drivers Education Training, taught by Steve Domingo of We Drop Co. Students receive their accredited vocational training certification upon completion for a career as a cannabis delivery driver. This class seats only 30 participants, so early registration is encouraged.

Attendees will also enjoy free cannabis tours Wednesday and Thursday of local sponsor businesses in the Palm Springs / Cathedral City area. Those on the tour can learn about the industry and see how the cannabis industry is changing the economic and job landscape in the valley.  No consumption will be allowed. Tours will be provided by MJ Tours and tourers can enjoy a spacious 30-seater bus. The tours are first come first serve, so it is recommended those who intend to tour register early at the event to ensure their seat.

This is the first of many similar events to be replicated throughout the Southern California area. Seats are limited and those interested in the event can register at https://www.scccouncil.org/upcoming-events. Visitors to the site can also download the schedule and see current updates on the event. Expo booths are free to serious employers, including ancillary employers, and registration for a free booth can also be found on the site. Sponsorships are also available and the sponsorship package can be downloaded in the site as well.

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