Felicia Glasper, owner of in home cannabis catering company Hosted and Toasted, shares insight with leaf.trade co-founder Michael Piermont at Wednesday’s Grown in Chi. [Photo: Brad Spirrison]

A packed room at The Hubbard Inn in River North converged last night to network and learn from others who are establishing authority in the nascent cannabis industry at the monthly Green in Chi Event.

A mix of recent and aspiring immigrants to the industry exchanged business cards, LinkedIn accounts, origin stories and rationales for entering the industry.

Most were looking for a pathway into employment. 

For the record, previous history with the plant is not a prerequisite. 

“We looked initially for people who haven’t used cannabis, but if they take chances, are smart and are a little weird, we usually hire them, said panelist Michael Piedmont, co-founder of cannabis software company leaf.trade, which raised $4.5 million in part to expand workforce in Chicago. 

Piedmont added that leaf.trade has commercial relationships with every Illinois-based dispensary. 

While CBD snacks were passed around and the mild aroma of weed was apparent to the astute observer, most attendees were focused on how cannabis industries can advance their companies and careers. 

It’s all about having the right balance, explained panelist Alan Bonsett, CEO at Boulder-based GrowRay Lighting Technologies.

“You want people who are passionate about cannabis, but if they are too passionate that can cause problems,” he said.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.