Faces of Legal Marijuana: Second Careers in Cannabis

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Marijuana is big business. More than 10,000 new jobs were reportedly created in Colorado this year, and many thousands expected to be added as Washington State's recreational marijuana market opens for business late this spring. The Green Rush is attracting older workers, who are foregoing early retirement, and instead starting second careers in the green pastures of Washington state's legal marijuana industry.

Click through the slideshow to read some of their stories:

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​Fifty-Plus Workers in Weed: Second Careers in Cannabis
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Faces of Legal Marijuana: Second Careers in Cannabis

Name: Jake Dimmock
Previous Work: Merchant Seaman, Caregiver
Cannabis Industry Job: Master Gardener, and co-owner of Northwest Patient Resource Center (NWPRC).
Age: 55

"I'm the Jerry Garcia of the cannabis community," Jake jokes, and the physical resemblance is unmistakable, "I'm the guy you want to have a beer with." The 55 year-old former merchant seaman from Norfolk, Virginia, carries a quiet confidence, in contrast to the strong egos that define so many of his peers.

Photo credit: Morgan/MJNN

Name: Cat Jeter
Previous Work: Accountant, Consumer Advocate
Cannabis Career: MMJ Owner, Agile Otter Enterprises &Deep Green Extracts, MMJ Cannabis Activist
Age: 58

Cat Jeter has been a professional accountant for nearly 30 years, and an activist for 40. She believes strongly that access to cannabis sativa is a question of economic equality for the masses.

"In the face of peer-reviewed science, what possible reason other than economic oppression can be given for continued prohibition of a safe and useful plant?"

Photo Credit: Tawnee Cowan

Name: John Walters
Previous Work: Enterprise software sales
Cannabis Career Aspirations: Sales
Age: 60

Laid off from a high-paying corporate software sales job at the age of 60, after 19 years with the company, John Walters faced the daunting challenge of trying to compete with much younger, and much less well-paid applicants. Plus, he was burnt out on corporate sales, and looking to rekindle his passions.

"They won't look at you if you're 50-plus," John laments. "I look at myself in the mirror, and I don't see some old guy."

Photo Credit: Michael Guttsen

Name: Paul and Bean Coleman
Previous work: Music promoters and bookers
Cannabis Career: Entrepreneurs, owner of Beans2gO, delivering medicated meals to homebound patients
Ages: Bean 60, Paul 55

"We got into medical marijuana because Paul got cancer 3 years ago. We treated him with RSO for 7 months. They removed the tumor, and he is now completely cancer free. So now we want to help others that are suffering from disease and cannot get out to get medicine. Medical cannabis is a plant we use to heal ourselves. We the people should be allowed to make our own choices about our bodies."

Photo Credit: Tawnee Cowan

Name: Dawn Darington
Previous Work: Mental Health Specialist
Cannabis Career: CEO OF Choice Wellness Center
Age: 68

Dawn Darington is a passionate and tireless activist. Her introduction to medical marijuana began 15 years ago as the mother of an epileptic daughter.

"Human beings have a symbiotic relationship with cannabis that goes back tens of thousands of years."

Photo Credit: Tawnee Cowan

Name: "Farmer" Tom Lauerman
Previous Work: Director of Manufacturing for candle and fragrance company
Cannabis Career: Cannabis Farmer, Author, and Activist
Age: 53

Farmer "Tom" is well know around the Washington medical marijuana farmer's markets. With his Walt Whitman beard and wilted hat, Farmer Tom has been a recognizable fixture at the market, and in the industry for more than 15 years.

"We are all about our organic lifestyle. From Pure water to straight from the garden cannabis, fruits and veggies. Love the way you live."
Photo Credit: Tawnee Cowan
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