Veterans returning to the civilian world sometimes feel like a fish out of water. They’re used to a strict schedule and following regulations covering everything from how to carry themselves to indepth training with explosives and firearms. This unique set of skills doesn’t typically carry over to most civilian jobs. Providing protection is one option, but what these soldiers protect might shock you.
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The legalization of marijuana has taken the United States by storm in the past few years. This is especially true in Colorado, a state that reportedly earned over $1 billion on the taxations of recreational marijuana, according to Reason.com.
There is one problem with this lucrative business venture that has the capability of sustaining a state for extended periods of time; the federal government doesn’t recognize the sale of marijuana. Meaning that the exorbitant amount of money made from marijuana sales can’t be deposited in banks.
Instead of keeping the money in banks, farmers hire a group of highly-skilled personnel to protect their money and pot farms. The Iron Protection Group was formed in 2014 by Hunter Garth, Cory Aguillard and Caleb Patton, Marines who had served in Afghanistan but found it hard to adapt to civilian life with they suffering from PTSD.
“It started out as brothers helping brothers,” said Patton. Similar to Spec-Ops personnel, beards and tattoos are embraced and those military skills are put to good use. The job also brings in a fair paycheck. The pay starts at $12 an hour, or $25,000 a year based on a 40-hour workweek, according to Garth.
The 10 employees target practice in the Rockies using criminal background paper images as targets. The employees all use marijuana medically and recreationally. One of the employees, Curtis Simmons, uses marijuana to help manage his PTSD.
The harvesting locations, or “pot farms” as they’re referred to, hold over a million dollars worth of product at any given time. The locations are large and gang members or the competition can tell exact which building is a harvesting location. “There is no hiding it,” said Patton.
That means that the vets have to be on high alert every day, similar to how they would react in the fields in Afghanistan.
These veterans have been able to hone their unique skill set and bring it back to the states. They don’t allow the lack of jobs to discourage them; they, instead, make their own jobs and feel like they’re contributing to society.