By Ryan Rumbolt

Amid pipeline problems and market mayhem, one Calgary welder is using skills learned in the oilpatch to kick-start a career in cannabis.

Jason Marshall had worked in the oil and gas sector as a journeyman welder for more than 17 years when the economic downturn hit Alberta in 2014.

Even with more than a decade of experience, Marshall was let go from his job at Precision Drilling along with thousands of other tradespeople as the industry ground to a crawl.

Marshall spent the next few years working as a contractor until a visit to the Calgary Franchise Show with his wife, Irene Struc, led him to trade in his welding torch for good.

“It was, I suppose, a complete surprise to both of us that this was even an industry we would end up in and . . . be big proponents of,” said Struc.

After weighing their options, the couple decided to break out on their own by starting Green Earth Cannabis near Marlborough Mall instead of buying into one of the larger cannabis chains.

Currently Calgary’s newest and largest cannabis retail store, Marshall said Green Earth offers something for every experience level of cannabis connoisseur.

“I know they say you should never try and be a jack of all trades . . . but because we have the space we’re able to do that,” Marshall said.

Having a trades background allowed Marshall to start design and renovation work on his rented retail space before cannabis store permits from the province and city were rubber-stamped.

He also mined his contacts in the trades to enlist help from other former oil and gas workers to finish the teardown and rebuild.

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