They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but when it comes to cannabis, maybe it does. “Trees” is a loosely used term to describe cannabis and those types of trees are reaping real results.
A recent survey suggests that cultivation is where the true profits lie in the cannabis industry. According to Cannabis At Work, an organization that has been working Canadian workers to secure jobs in the industry since 2015, individuals with a knack for horticulture, botany or simply growing weed now have the best chance at making the best wages.
Alison McMahon, the organization’s founder and CEO, says there has been a 14 percent increase in these positions over the past year. And it’s a high demand situation. “If there’s anywhere in the sector where we’re seeing a talent shortage or skill shortage, it’s on the cultivation side,” she told The Toronto Star. McMahon says the Canadian cannabis market is in desperate need for cultivation managers, quality assurance pros, cultivation assistants and processing assistants. These positions come with salaries anywhere between $81,000 and $103,000 per year. Compared to the Canadian national average of $51,000 per year, that’s pretty damn good.
On top of that, there’s a lot of demand. Canadian cannabis producers are experiencing difficulty filling these crucial positions. The cannabis industry is an emerging but very new industry and finding workers with the skills needed and performance standards has not always been an easy task.
There are a few schools launching programs designed to train workers for the growing number of cannabis cultivation jobs, McMahon continues to say the field is in need of immediate assistance.
“The problem is that we still have a lag in terms of actual enrollment into those programs and actual graduation from those programs,” she said. Part of the dilemma, McMahon explained, is that some workers are afraid that having any connection to the cannabis trade might sabotage their future career endeavors. “A couple years ago, you had to almost coax people past being afraid of career suicide, and were paying a bit of a premium for those corporate service people to join the cannabis industry,” she said. “Now we’re seeing that level out.”
With Canada set to legalize recreational marijuana later this summer retail dispensaries are expected to further drive demand. McMahon says ambitious growers need to get in on the multi-billion dollar industry now.
A new report released last week by Deloitte shows the Canadian cannabis market will rake in $5 billion in recreational sales in 2019. More than $1 billion is still expected to come from the medical marijuana sector. These numbers are then projected to skyrocket near the $22 billion mark once the sale of edible products is permitted later next year.
Another Deloitte report published in January 2018 shows that around 150,000 cannabis-related jobs will emerge with the coming of legalization. “This has already been a crazy industry, it’s about to get even wilder,” McMahon said.