Safety & Compliance

How to Start and Keep A Cannabis or Hemp Extraction Facility

Written by Tamir Bresler

Part IV: Finding the People Who Have What it Takes to Be a Cannabis Extractor

As with any field, finding quality employees can be difficult. It involves job postings in many different locations, screening applicants, running background checks, and conducting interviews. This difficulty is doubly so for those positions that require some sort of technical background to be eligible for the work, such as having experience working with particular machines or in particular environments. In the cannabis industry, the basic problems of finding employees are even quadrupled, because not only do you need people with a vary narrow and particular set of skills, you also need people who are willing to be a part of an industry that is still, from a federal, regulatory stand point, very much on the fringes. And the percentage of people who fill all those requirements is, simply put, very small.

Let’s talk about technical requirements. Working as a cannabis extractor is no easy task. Generally speaking, it involves long hours. Regardless of the scale of your facility or the method you use, the training period is relatively long, because the machines you work with and the crude oil you produce are both very expensive. A typical hydrocarbon Modular Extraction Platform can easily crack $100 thousand, while large supercritical CO2 systems can cost almost half a million dollars.

Equally important, the process you control and the environment you are in is dangerous, and your safety and the safety of those around you hinges on minimizing errors and responding appropriately to threats. Your extraction space is almost always going to be C1D1—you work alone, isolated in a very loud booth, and have to manually control the movement of gallons of potentially-explosive solvents.

There is also a meticulous amount of record keeping that needs to occur. A cannabis extractor must be very organized to stay on top of the daily paperwork that transpires. They should also be detail oriented, because being able to catch small changes in your regular workflow, or your machine, is what will ultimately maximize the quality of the end products and the efficiency of your equipment.

It’s becoming easier to find savvy operators of extraction equipment as the industry grows and becomes more established, giving more people the skill sets to operate the equipment and providing more stability so professionals feel comfortable working in this arena. The thing to do now is continue expanding on this stability, offering employees the traditional bonuses and benefits they could expect at any other “normal” job. At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling when you see your company’s products on dispensary shelves, and you think, “I helped make that.”

Image Credit: OutCo

About the author

Tamir Bresler