Grand Rapids’ first cannabis grower looks to hire (update)

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The 35,000-square-foot medical marijuana production facility, at 2055 Oak Industrial Drive NE, is owned by Colorado-based Terrapin. Courtesy Terrapin

UPDATE (4:40 p.m. June 19, 2020): The public is asked to pre-register for a virtual job fair held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday for positions at Terrapin.

Grand Rapids’ first standalone cannabis grower operation opened Monday.

The 35,000-square-foot medical marijuana production facility, at 2055 Oak Industrial Drive NE, is owned by Colorado-based Terrapin. Orion Construction served as the contractor.

The new marijuana facility is set to bring 30 new jobs to Grand Rapids. Terrapin will be hosting a virtual job fair June 23 with an emphasis on social equity in hiring.

“We continue to work with city leaders to craft a cannabis program for Grand Rapids that offers an opportunity for those left behind by a failed drug war,” said Chris Woods, owner and chief executive of Terrapin. “We’re thrilled to be bringing jobs to Grand Rapids at a time of economic uncertainty. But we would be negligent if we didn’t do so with an eye toward an equitable future.

“In the past few months, we as a country have endured great pain, heartbreak and civil unrest. We can no longer ignore the mistakes of the past without a forward-looking approach for a progressive future. Corporations have a duty and a responsibility to turn thoughts into action. As we launch in Michigan, Terrapin wants this new cannabis industry to be a leader as we move from a tipping point in America to meaningful reform.”

Terrapin will partner with Color of Cannabis, a group that provides technical business support, mentorship training and partnerships for people of color and stakeholders who have been negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition.

The group will oversee a social equity informational session and résumé workshop from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday for people of color seeking jobs at Terrapin. The session can be accessed by filling out the form found here.

Respondents will receive a Zoom link for Thursday’s session, as well as for the job fair June 23. Color of Cannabis will help to screen résumés for Terrapin to ensure diversity in hiring.

The Terrapin virtual job fair is scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 23. The general public is asked to preregister for the job fair by clicking here.

“Social equity in cannabis is an opportunity to repair and restore communities and people negatively affected by the war on drugs,” said Sarah Woodson, executive director of The Color of Cannabis. “That is not an easy task considering the depths of generational destruction caused by the drug war to marginalized communities. However, we have an opportunity in the regulated sector to provide economic and criminal restorative justice through social equity programs that are led by states and supported by industry.”

In addition to ensuring social equity, Terrapin will partner with Kids’ Food Basket and MomsBloom.

Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket is a nonprofit that helps to eliminate childhood hunger in the community. Terrapin will provide mentorship and training on sustainable farming practices and provide supplies and volunteers for the organization’s urban farming program.

“Kids’ Food Basket is committed to nourishing our community, and we will continue to do so with the support of our generous partners,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, president and founding CEO of Kids’ Food Basket. “We are proud to be leading the way in food equity and sustainable farming in West Michigan. We could not do this without the support of community partners such as Terrapin. Thank you for helping us nourish our future.”

MomsBloom helps to provide in-home practical and emotional support to families of newborn babies in Kent County. Terrapin has pledged volunteer services and in-kind resources to the organization.

“Having the support of local businesses is critical to MomsBloom and the families we serve,” MomsBloom Executive Director Carrie Kolehouse said. “We’re grateful to Terrapin for believing in our mission of giving parents the support and community they need to thrive and partnering with us to expand our services to a growing number of families.”

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