ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — Cannabis companies in Connecticut are hiring as the industry gets set to expand, with retail stores set to open by the end of the year.

A cannabis job fair in Rocky Hill Wednesday, hosted by Chicago-based cannabis company Verano, attracted applicants from across the state.

Joseph Phlam of Middletown is ready to break into the budding cannabis industry. He is applying for a job in cultivation.

“I hope I get a job. I’m trying to get my foot in the door. It’s all new to me,” Phlam said.

Despite some uncertainty about his future, he is a strong believer in the industry that he thinks will only grow with time.

His confidence is based on what marijuana has done for his health and his girlfriend.

“There are good benefits of it, she has a medical card for actual reason. She’d rather do that then take pain pills,” Phlam said.

There are many like Phlam now changing careers to take a shot in this industry.

“I’ve been amazed to see how many people are willing to do abrupt life changing to be part of this industry because they are passionate about it,” said Michael Evans, VP of Talent Acquisition at Verano.

Verano now owns CT Pharma. They are looking to hire 30 positions for their Rocky Hill cultivation facility. They say these cannabis jobs really are secure.

“Yes it’s a job where people can have a career and it’s very much a place where someone can come in, they’re going to be looked after and are able to grow,” Evans said.

Verano says the pay is competitive, with wages up to $18 an hour, based on experience.

They will continue to explore additional retail options in Connecticut, as the state makes its transition to adult-use retail sales.

Connecticut will approve the state’s first 12 pot shops next month, and DCP expects they will be open before the end of the year.