Want a job selling pot (legally)? You could be in luck: Florida's medical marijuana industry is beginning to take off

Medical marijuana dispensary hiring in Florida is beginning to germinate, as existing operators prepare to open new stores and other companies enter the market.

In South Florida, legal growers operate only a handful of dispensaries. But those dispensaries — including Knox Medical, Curaleaf and Trulieve — are laying the groundwork for new locations in the tricounty region and across the state. And California-based MedMen is getting ready to enter the market, which could heat up competition.

Expansion by existing and new operators could result in more than 500 dispensaries across the state — and thousands of jobs. Each may employ 10 to 15 people in jobs including manager and customer service positions at dispensaries, as well as delivery workers, cultivation experts, and makers of medical marijuana products.

“It’s a new industry in Florida, and people see great potential,” said Michael Costa, dispensary operations manager for Curaleaf, which has one location in Lake Worth and two in Miami.

Some companies have deep pockets to invest in expansion. MedMen, a publicly traded company with a $1.6 billion market valuation, recently agreed to acquire Treadwell Nursery in Eustis for $53 million. MedMen has 13 dispensaries in California, Nevada and New York, and is planning about 45 new stores — that could include as many as 25 in Florida.

MedMen is seeking a toehold in Florida because of the rapid growth of the state’s medical marijuana program, according to spokesman Daniel Yi.

As of June 15, there were 100,000 Florida residents with approved medical marijuana cards, and nearly 3,000 in processing, according to the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

MedMen is gambling that Florida eventually will legalize recreational marijuana. Yi points to California and other states that began by legalizing medical marijuana and later legalized the adult use of pot.

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