Cannabis at Work; Are There Jobs Working with Weed?

As Canada gets closer and closer to the July 1st date for adult use legalization people are getting ever more excited at the prospect of working in the cannabis industry. It feels like we're hearing from people daily who are looking to break in, move up or launch a product in the space. 

We decided to check in with our friend Alison McMahon at Cannabis at Work which is Canada's only staffing agency focusing exclusively on the cannabis sector to see what sort of insights she has into the Canadian job market now. 

Are there jobs in weed?

The first thing we wanted to know was approximately how many jobs are available in weed? Now it's important to note that these stats are only applicable to the legal Licensed Producer roles and do not include the grey market nor jobs in media focused on cannabis culture. McMahon and her team estimated that there are roughly 2000 jobs in the LP ecosystem today and ... Even more exciting she expects to see a rapid increase in the number of available positions following legalization. 

 She says "I am estimating 50,000 jobs within a few years of legalization. This estimate is based on the workforce that we see in California, which has roughly the same population as Canada."  As of late summer 2017, the average number of new roles in the industry being advertised are in the range of 5-10 weekly. 

Show Me the money

What about money? What kind of salary or hourly wage can a worker expect to bring home in this field? Similar to other industries, those in admin can expect to pull in a starting wage of about $15/hour (depending on geographic location) and this would increase depending on the complexity of the role. Someone looking to work in cultivation could expect to see a salary of about $45,000 - 70,000 annually with senior cultivators and managers making more depending on the level of responsibility. 

Medical Cannabis In the Workplace

Many employers in the cannabis sector are more open to employee's who use medical cannabis than in other sectors. However, this doesn't mean that employers allow impairment in the workplace. They may be able to accommodate an employee, but this still requires as an assessment of how an employee can do their work safely and unimpaired. In such a situation, employers are balancing their duty to accommodate (Human Rights) with their duty to maintain a safe workplace (Occupational Health & Safety).

Growth Industry

McMahon says that she thinks that cannabis is becoming more mainstream overall, and yes, that more people are identifying it as a growth industry. "We see very educated and experienced folks who are now looking at the cannabis sector. They realize it is a real business, one that is growing quickly and where they can spice up their career and learn new things. I think once legalization hits we will see an even bigger spike in interest." 

This is true too of people who have been involved with the grey market and are ready to make a shift into the legal sector. These candidates aren't necessarily comfortable putting their background on a resume but are willing to talk to Cannabis at Work because they are rooted in the industry. McMahon and her team can assist these candidates by sharing their background with employers when applicants may have otherwise been shy of doing so. "There are some really strong candidates who are suitable for the legal sector and we've had success helping with this transition." She says.