The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic will likely be felt for years to come. Experts say the virus may end up infecting up to 70% of the world’s population, and we may need to have sporadic lockdowns till 2022 to completely eradicate it. It’s safe to say that shutting down most businesses and essentially slowing down consumer spending has had a catastrophic effect on the economy.
With most industries feeling the strain, a lot of businesses have had to let some of their staff go. A record 6 million people filed for unemployment, raising the number of unemployed Americans filing for aid to a whopping 22 million. However, some sectors have thrived amid all the chaos, such as cannabis. Deemed an essential industry by most states that allow marijuana, cannabis businesses have been able to operate unabated during the Coronavirus crisis.
However, cannabis firms in Pennsylvania have run into roadblocks while trying to employ new ‘bud-tenders,’ the staffers who consult with patients. This is despite the fact that more than one in six Pennsylvanians has filed for unemployment since the Coronavirus shutdowns began.
Prospective employees require FBI background checks and drug tests, but most of the offices that process fingerprints are shut down for the time being. “It’s just so unbelievably frustrating. I have five clients with over 100 openings, and there are likely hundreds more that are waiting. These are good-paying jobs, many of which come with health care benefits,” says Harrisburg lawyer Judith Cassel.
She sent a letter to the state Department of Health, requesting a temporary 90-day waiver that would allow job candidates to sign an affidavit stating they don’t have a criminal record. They would also undergo third-party background checks, and any untruthful responses or failing the test will result in immediate termination.
Cassel stressed on the fact that although these measures were indeed useful, these are special times and they require special solutions. “We understand the need for background checks and department oversight on hires during normal circumstances, but these are not normal times. The current process does not rise to the current challenge.”
This problem isn’t restricted to Pennsylvania only. According to an official with Chicago-based marijuana company Cresco Labs, the firm has had a hard time finding people to fill 250 workers in Illinois.
“Under normal circumstances, it would take two to six weeks to get approved,” says Cresco’s Executive Vice President John Sullivan. “But since most state government functions are closed down and a lot of the fingerprint agencies shut, too, the process is stretching out longer and longer.”
Experts believe that cannabis firms like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) (FWB: 496) are frustrated that at a time when jobs are being lost, an industry that can employ more people is being held back by a freeze on crucial processes that are a prerequisite for people to secure the available jobs.
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