PEORIA, Ill. — A unique business fair prepped neighbors for an industry entering Peoria.

Tuesday, at the Carver Community Center, the Minority Business Development Center and Handcrafted Cannabis Company hosted the Cannabis Career Fair.

Like any career fair, people showed up with resumes on hand, headshots and began filling out applications for jobs at future dispensaries. Some neighbors said they are surprised an opportunity like this was afforded to the community, but are grateful nonetheless.

As of January 2020, the sale of recreational marijuana will be legalized in Illinois and approved dispensaries will be able to open businesses in Peoria. Future business owners are getting ahead of the game, seeking candidates who can propel their companies forward.

Co-owner of Handcrafted Cannabis Company, Oak Lemnerman said he’s excited for what is to come adding that this is a great opportunity to create new jobs.

“It’s going to be hard to get experienced candidates because it’s new to the market,” Lemnerman said. A combination of retail experience and management is what they’re looking for, but not having those qualities isn’t a deal-breaker.

“Good attitude, energy and willingness to learn in an ever-changing market” are a few characteristics Lemnerman said they also look for in a hireable candidate.

Applicants at the career fair like Natasha Pearson said city leaders are becoming open-minded to the industry, understanding how it can benefit the community.

“I think it’s way better than thinking it’s just this whole hippie pothead thing. I think people seeing people ready to work is a lot better and it’ll help a lot I can’t wait,” Pearson said.

Chantez Shird attended the event and said it’s still hard to believe he has the opportunity to begin a career in this industry.

“If I get the job, being there on time, working hard and actually taking the opportunity seriously. This is a good opportunity, everybody wanna have this opportunity,” Shird said.

The next step for cannabis companies is to get a license approved. Upon approval, owners can open dispensaries and create new job opportunities for people in the city of Peoria.