Lowell Herb Co., a Los Angeles-based maker of marijuana cigarettes, is looking to hire more employees and the company is giving special consideration to non-violent cannabis offenders.

Company CEO David Elias said many of them are having difficulty finding work.

“One of the first questions many employers ask on a job application is whether you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony,” he said. “When an applicant reveals a marijuana-related offense, they are typically removed from consideration. Many of these are good people who have no prior convictions or offenses, but they are hugely impacted by this.”

The company has openings in package design, sales, marketing, distribution, shipping and customer service. Most of the jobs will be in Los Angeles, but there are also openings in Santa Barbara, San Diego, the Bay Area and Luis Obispo.

Salary and hourly positions

“Most are full-time jobs that pay $40,000 to $50,000 a year, but we also offer hourly positions and we’re committed to paying above the minimum wage,” Elias said. “We’re hiring qualified people who have been convicted or are still dealing with a cannabis conviction, as well as others who have had their record expunged or are seeking to have it expunged. The San Francisco district attorney is dismissing many people with marijuana-related convictions.”

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Kenneth H. Lewis, a Los Angeles drug defense attorney, said non-violent offenders who were found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana probably won’t be ostracized by most potential employers.

“If you have a small amount … that’s no big deal,” he said. “That’s basically been like a citation in California for a long time. But if you have a large quantity in your possession — much more than you could smoke — they’ll probably assume you’re selling it. I don’t think most employers would want to hire someone who has been convicted for selling marijuana.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in California for more than 20 years. In January, California became the sixth state to allow licensed shops to sell marijuana to anyone with an ID showing they’re 21 and older. Now it’s like buying alcohol from a bar or liquor store, and a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana is no longer required to make a purchase in one of the shops.

Job opportunities are ramping up fast

California’s growing cannabis industry is ramping up fast.

Check out our updated map showing shops licensed to sell recreational cannabis in California.

On Wednesday, May 16, Indeed.com had 540 jobs posted by cannabis-related businesses, including 297 new listings. One job posting for a business development specialist listed a salary range of $80,000 to $85,000 a year, while an opening for a cannabis trimmer pays anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 a year.

Other jobs pay substantially less, including tour guide ($17 to $20 an hour), marketing assistant ($15 an hour) and assistant distiller ($18 an hour).

Billboard tactics

Lowell recently unveiled a billboard near Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles announcing the jobs initiative. The company plans to actively promote its hiring push via TV, radio, newspapers and social media.

The company’s Lowell Smokes marijuana pre-rolls come seven or 14 to a pack and are sold at more than 250 dispensaries throughout California, including Kind Aid in Pasadena, Buds & Bloom in Santa Ana, The Loft in Woodland Hills, OMG Group in Sylmar and Kush Valley in Moreno Valley.

Lowell’s marijuana plants are grown at a farm in San Luis Obispo, but the company also networks with about 30 more farmers ranging from the Central Coast to Northern California.

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