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Quebec starts to hire cannabis store employees but can’t confirm if Montreal will get stores by October

The province is starting to hire cannabis store employees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Quebec’s government-run cannabis monopoly has launched a hiring drive with jobs starting at $14 per hour, but it cannot yet confirm Montreal will be among the cities getting the first wave of pot stores.

Candidates without criminal records are being invited to apply on the website of the corporation, which is an independently run subsidiary of the Quebec Liquor Corp.

READ MORE: Quebec adopts long-awaited cannabis law

Quebec is looking to open about 20 stores by mid-October, when federal legislation legalizing cannabis enters into force.

The cannabis corporation has signed leases for stores in Lévis, Trois-Rivières, Drummondville and Quebec City, it announced on Thursday.

Quebec’s cannabis law stipulates pot stores must be a certain distance from schools and daycares, and with Montreal’s dense neighbourhoods, finding the right location has proven more difficult than in other cities, said spokesman Mathieu Gaudreault.

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READ MORE: Quebec premier won’t rule out legal challenge if Ottawa allows home-grown cannabis

“Right now we can’t confirm Montreal will be in the first wave of stores,” he said an interview Friday.

“We want to open stores quickly and we are putting in all the effort to open stores across Quebec, including in Montreal.”

He said Quebecers living anywhere in the province will be able to order marijuana online through the corporation’s platform on the first day cannabis becomes legal, on Oct. 17.

The roughly 20 stores that are scheduled for October will be open 12 hours a day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

“The goal of these stores is to bring people from the illegal market into the legal one,” Gaudreault said.

Wages for sales clerks will begin at $14 per hour, and they will be eligible for health and other benefits.

The starting wage for unionized employees at Quebec’s state-run liquor stores, in comparison, is $19.33 an hour.

READ MORE: Marijuana to be legal in Canada starting October 17, Trudeau confirms

Prospective employees will be required to pass a test following their training in order to be hired.

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Gaudreault said salaries for directors and deputy directors will be competitive but didn’t give details.

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