GR’s first marijuana grow holding job fair Tuesday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first facility to legally grow marijuana in the city of Grand Rapids is looking to hire.

Colorado-based Terrapin Care is hosting a virtual job fair Tuesday to start filling positions. It is also working to make sure workers include members of groups that bore the brunt of marijuana prohibition.

“We will be making sure that people of color have an opportunity to work for us in this brand new market of ours in Michigan,” Terrapin spokesperson Peter Marcus said.

Terrapin got the city’s coveted first approval for a 35,000-square-foot marijuana grow facility. The site at 2055 Oak Industrial Drive NE between Plymouth and Maryland avenues used to be home to the Kids Food Basket. Though it is still under construction, it’s already growing a crop expected to hit shelves at Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries as soon next month.

The company plans to expand with a testing facility that could add another 30 people to the payroll. When Grand Rapids is ready for recreational marijuana, it will move into that market, too.

Terrapin, which has a decade of experience in medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado, scouted Grand Rapids last year.

“We started hanging out in Grand Rapids and going to the restaurants there and hanging out at the bars and it just really felt like our kind of town,” Marcus said.

Marcus said the company was fine with the city’s vigorous regulatory scheme.

“Believe it or not, we actually encourage governments to be as in-depth and as complicated with these applications,” Marcus said. “We view it as, yeah, let us jump through all of these hoops now so that we end up with the best actors in the program that you can.”

Initially, the company plans to hire 30 locals to work in positions that will pay at least $15 per hour.

It is also committed to complying with the concept of social equity in the marijuana industry. That is the idea that since Black people and other people of color were disproportionately penalized before Michigan residents voted to legalize marijuana, it is only fair the same population should be part of the prosperity of the legal market.

“We as a corporation do have a responsibility to right the wrongs of the past and we’re doing that here working with Grand Rapids,” Terrapin owner Chris Woods said at a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and state Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids.

“These are times across the country and here in the city that we need to be laser-focused on social equity and racial equity and racial justice,” Bliss said.

Applicants can register online for Tuesday’s virtual job fair, which will be the opportunity for the company to show whether its stated commitment will be backed up with action.