Marijuana-related job searches spiked on legalization day, according to data collected by job search engine Indeed Canada.
In the week prior to marijuana legalization, searches doubled on Indeed for five related terms: cannabis, marijuana, dispensary, weed and budtender.
On Oct. 17 — legalization day itself — the searches rose another 33 per cent.
Indeed economist Brendon Bernard explained to Global News that the jump didn’t last long.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that things have died down,” he said. “There was a lot of media attention surrounding the whole process.”
Bernard noted that spikes like this have been seen in the past when marijuana legalization has been in the news.
Amid these spikes, interest in jobs has also been steadily rising for some time.
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“Searches remain quite elevated,” Bernard explained. “I do think underlying the brief spikes there is genuine growing interest in these kinds of roles.”
At the beginning of September, 31 out of 10,000 searches on the Canadian site were related to marijuana. By mid-October, there were 90 searches per 10,000.
“The hype might die down a bit more in the weeks to come,” Bernard said, but he noted the industry is one to watch.
What kind of jobs are in the marijuana industry?
Bernard explained that, in general, marijuana industry jobs on Indeed can be divided into two categories — retail and production.
“On the retail side, budtender is the most common job,” Bernard said. “It’s sort of a catch-all term for dispensary workers.”
On the production end, the two most common jobs are “quality assurance person” and “grower.”
Monica Chadha, the national cannabis leader at consulting firm EY Canada, explained to Global News that beyond that, the cannabis industry “intersects” with many other industries.
That means the job opportunities are quite vast and overlap with sectors such as biotech, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and health and wellness.
“If you think of a cannabis company like any other start-up beginning its journey, the possibilities for types of jobs and employment opportunities are endless,” she explained.
One challenge cannabis companies face, however, is that while there is interest in jobs, many candidates don’t have relevant experience.
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“Given that the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, there’s a limited pool of candidates with cannabis experience,” she explained.
That’s why Chadha explained there will likely be a short-term “labour shortage” in the cannabis industry.
How many jobs will there actually be?
Chadha said that it’s difficult to say how many jobs the Canada’s cannabis industry will eventually have, but it really depends on how much revenue it collects.
“Some research suggests cannabis could add up to $8 billion in revenue,” she said. “That is a tremendous amount of economic development that will drive employment growth.”
She also noted Colorado’s example, where recreational marijuana began being sold in 2014. The U.S. state had roughly 18,000 full-time jobs related to the marijuana industry in 2015.
“If we compare that with Canada’s population of 33 million people (almost six times the population of Colorado), we could expect to see over 100,000 jobs created for cannabis industry during its early days.”