High Times for Hiring: Marijuana is Now Legal in Canada

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It’s almost time for our Canadian friends to grab some Mountain Dew and Little Debbies and dust off those DVDs of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle – recreational marijuana will soon be available nationwide.

The Cannabis Act

Bill-C45, more commonly known as The Cannabis Act, was passed in the Senate last week and is expected to go into effect on October 17th. The measure specifically allows the possession, growth, and sale of marijuana for adults, though some provinces have unique regulations. Quebec and Manitoba, for instance, are banning home cultivation entirely.

Hiring Sprees: As the Marijuana Grows, so Does the Job Market

The Canopy Growth Corporation, the country’s largest producer of medical marijuana, has over 700 employees “across a growing collection of brands, regions, and job types,” with plans to fill hundreds of new positions as The Cannabis Act comes to fruition. Jordan Sinclair, VP of Communications for the Ontario-based company, says the organization’s HR team is at “peak insanity”. Feeding the hiring blitz especially is the need for retail workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and potentially Alberta.

Government-sanctioned outlets are also fueling the hiring craze. Pending any changes by Ontario’s incoming Premier Doug Ford, The Liquor Control Board (LCBO) is creating its own network of licensed pot stores, Product Specialists and Store Managers for its first 40 outlets across the province. If the plan sticks, LCBO expects to see 80 stores by July 2019 and 150 by 2020. Ford may be open-minded to private retail stores operating in the province as well.

Compensation & Reputation

According to salary data compiled by the Cannabis at Work agency from 19 licensed marijuana companies, jobs pertaining to cannabis growth have increased by up to 14% compared to 2017. Considering the small pool of folks with cultivation experience, the agency projects that a “master grower” could see a salary up to $93,000. Higher education institutions such as Niagara College in Ontario are starting pot production programs, but there will be some lag time in the market before cultivation is normalized as an occupation.

Conversely, Cannabis at Work reports that salaries have declined by six to eight percent for more common jobs such as human resources and accounting as stigmas on the marijuana industry fade and these roles become easier to fill. Jason Fleming of MedReleaf suggests that recruiting for jobs in the industry at large will become easier as controversy wanes.

Green from the Green

Based on an online survey of 1,500 adults living across Canada’s 10 provinces, folks could spend up to $4.34 billion on recreational marijuana in 2019. The same study also projects that folks will still spend up between $770 million and $1.79 billion on medical kush, and up to another another billion on illegal cannabis.

In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana’s production, sale, and consumption. In the United States, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. Another 29 states have legalized medical marijuana. As we monitor trends in Canada’s workforce, we’ll begin to consider how the U.S. market will be impacted as more states slowly take steps towards recreational cannabis.

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