Black Crow Herbal Solutions is one of the several marijuana dispensaries in Vernon allowed to operate on a temporary business license permit while the city waits for clarification from the province on where and how marijuana can be legally sold. Photo credit: Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Canadian marijuana companies search for workers ahead of legalization

Pot is expected to be legalized by Canada Day 2018

Canadian marijuana companies are on a hiring spree, looking to fill an array of roles as they gear up for the legalization of recreational cannabis later this year.

The workforce is booming, said Alison McMahon, who runs Cannabis At Work, a staffing agency focused on the burgeoning industry.

Right now, she’s recruiting for positions in everything from growing and production to sales and marketing, all across the country.

Stigma may once have kept people from applying for work with a cannabis company, but those perceptions have shifted and people are now excited about the opportunities, McMahon said.

“I think that the people, at this point, who are looking at the industry and are excited really see the upside and the growth potential,” she said. ”More and more people are open to this topic, so it doesn’t end up being that big of a deal.”

READ: CannabisWise program to ease consumer concerns ahead of legalization

The buzz around Canadian pot is allowing companies to be picky and choose top talent, said Kerri-Lynn McAllister, chief marketing officer at Lift, a company that puts on cannabis events and runs a website sharing marijuana news and reviews.

“Because of all the excitement, it’s really an opportunity for companies to pick up the A-players in business or whatever field they’re operating in,” said McAllister, speaking from first-hand experience. She recently left a job in the financial tech sector to join Lift.

The industry has come out from the shadows recently, McAllister said, and that’s allowing companies to attract business executives, tech wizards and marketing masters who are at the top of their game.

Dozens of prospective employees came to meet McMahon and her staff at the Lift Cannabis Expo in Vancouver on Saturday, resumes in hand.

Chad Grant said he’s been working in construction, but wants to get a job growing marijuana.

“It’s going to be a big industry, so I’d like to be on the ground floor type thing,” he said.

Working with marijuana is nothing new for some of the applicants.

Grady Jay said he’s been growing for the underground industry for years. Now he wants to transition to working for the legal market.

“I basically want to wake up and do what I love in the morning,” Jay said.

Experience is part of what marijuana companies are looking for, particularly when it comes to production, McMahon said, noting that experience could come from working in a commercial greenhouse or the black market.

Successful applicants can expect to make salaries comparable to what similar industries offer, McMahon said. A general growing position would probably make about $50,000 per year, she said, while a director of production could expect around $100,000.

“Some people seem to think that because it’s cannabis and because of all the growth, the salaries are going to be so high,” McMahon said. ”And that’s not the case. It’s a bit more mainstream around the salaries.”

Anyone who wants to get into the industry should do their research, she added.

“We can have a really great candidate with a great skill set, but if they haven’t looked into what’s happening with the industry at all … that can potentially be a bit of detriment,” McMahon said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Central Saanich emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Man arrested at gunpoint outside Vic High

Police were called after he allegedly threatened a teacher with a knife

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

Joining the new wave of women in trades

Pair of Saanich residents among women joining trades

Balancing act: making it work as coach and mom

Vikes coach Dani Sinclair has only job she ever wanted

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

78 Mexican farmworkers displaced after fire tears through building on B.C. farm

Flames broke out Thursday morning in building that housed up to 80 workers at Abbotsford farm

Saanich Police pull over Pink Flamingo

Officers remind public this is not the way to transport items

Cartoonist captures public mood following Toronto, Humboldt tragedies

Cartoonist said he was trying to find a bit of positivity with an image that has garnered attention

Cordova Bay atop Greater Victoria elementary schools in Fraser Institute rankings

“It’s bad science… hopefully this is the last one,” says local union rep of ranking

Role models key to women’s success in science

While women represent the majority of university graduates, far fewer are in STEM fields

Montreal Habs goalie Carey Price stops by B.C. hometown for rodeo

Famous goaltender tries to blend in with the crowd at first BCRA-santioned event of the season

Whitecaps host against Real Salt Lake looking to snap 3-game losing streak

Ending their losing streak is all the Whitecaps care about when they host Salt Lake in Vancouver

B.C. hires 20 more conservation officers

The province announces 12 new locations for conservation officer services this year

Most Read