HIBBING — John Hagen’s goal is simple: dozens of new jobs in the Iron Range.
A successful cannabis entrepreneur in Colorado, Hagen grew up in Hibbing. He intends to bring his next business venture to northern Minnesota.
“There are a lot of smart, hard working people in my home state,” Hagen said, “and that includes people with only a high school degree.”
As he finalizes a seven-figure deal for the sale of his last dispensary — at one time Hagen had ownership in three marijuana dispensaries employing 46 people in Colorado — he has initiated conversations with business people in northern Minnesota, most of whom he knew as kids.
The jobs he wants to create will pay at least $15 hourly. Hagen’s vision is for a more modern call center, which incorporates social media and non-traditional outreach in promotions, marketing, and sales strategies.
One of his first clients will be his own new business, a health supplement company with organic products based on mushrooms, CBD, and other plant-based nutrients.
If all goes as planned, Hagen will also evaluate a fulfillment center for the area, bringing additional jobs in light industry.
When he ventured into cannabis in 2007, Hagen said most people close to him, including his mom in Hibbing, thought he was a bit crazy.
For more than 10 years, Hagen’s marijuana ventures were quite profitable. He wants to build on that business experience in a sort of homecoming to northern Minnesota.
“When you get to my age (53), you start thinking about business in different ways,” Hagen said. “What can I do to employ people around my home town? The talent is there. I can benefit from them, and the jobs created will help the area economy.”