Alison McMahon should be able to find some really dope jobs after opening what she says is the first staffing agency working exclusively with Canada’s budding marijuana industry.
The Edmonton human resources specialist, who started Cannabis at Work in 2015 to advise companies on issues linked to the use of the drug for medical reasons, recently branched out to help firms find employees as the country moves toward legalizing recreational consumption in July 2018.
“They’re ramping up because they will be heading into recreational (sales) in the future,” she said Wednesday.
“We really saw an opportunity. We’re on a tipping point in the industry. We’re going to need staff … The cannabis industry is quite literally growing in front of our eyes. I liken it to the (1990s) dot-com boom.”
A study last fall by consultant Deloitte concluded Canada’s recreational pot market could be worth as much as $22.6 billion a year.
McMahon estimates the cannabis industry could create 50,000 jobs in Canada after two years of legalization, based on California’s experience.
Potential positions include master growers, accounting, medical sales, answering phones in a call centre and serving customers as a “budtender.”
“About half the jobs today have some transferrable skills, but there’s still some education and experience that would make you an ideal candidate for the job,” said McMahon, who has three workers in Edmonton and Victoria handling this area and hopes to expand into Toronto and Vancouver.
“Understanding how inventory is going to depreciate (due to moisture loss) in the context of talking about cannabis is going to be something a regular accountant probably hasn’t done.”
She estimated 40 per cent of the work in Canada’s existing medical marijuana network is in Ontario, where most of the 44 licensed producers are located.
Alberta has two operations, Acreage Pharms 180 kilometres west of Edmonton and Aurora Cannabis Enterprises north of Calgary, but Aurora is building what it calls the world’s largest legal production facility beside the Edmonton International Airport.
The Aurora Sky plant is expected to employ 200 people at full function after opening this fall.
McMahon, who charges companies a fee when she fills an opening, expects to deal with hundreds of job vacancies over the next year.
She’s formally launching her service in Toronto this week as one of more than 150 participants at the Lift Cannabis Expo, the industry’s largest Canadian trade show.
McMahon is the past president of the local chapter of Canexions, an international group aimed at boosting female involvement in the cannabis business, and thinks they’ll be a big part of its growth.
“When other substances came out of prohibition, like alcohol, women weren’t participating in the workplace (like) they are now,” she said.
“To get involved in this sector in the context of it being an emerging market … women are better positioned than ever.”
SOURCE: Edmonton Sun