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Canadian Company Imports Foreign Workers To Fill Marijuana Jobs

As demand for the plant swells, a cannabis company welcomes foreign workers with open arms. This may be a sign of things to come.

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With the legalization of marijuana nationwide in October, Canada is already seeing a boom in cannabis-related employment. The number of cannabis jobs has shot up more than 200 percent, leading at least one company to import workers from out of the country to handle some of the jobs.

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With the demand for the plant exceeding supply capabilities, some companies are losing opportunities to make money. Case in point: The cannabis company Aphria Inc, which. told Bloomberg that it had to dump about $1 million worth of marijuana plants in August during the ramp up to adult-use legalization because the plants weren’t harvested in time.

The reason? There weren't enough qualified employees working in the company’s greenhouses. To avoid that outcome in the future, the Aphira has hired 50 workers from the Caribbean and Guatemala to work in their facility. And they plan to hire 100 more.

Related: Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400,000 By 2021, Study Projects


A “Budding Source Of Employment”

In its latest jobs report, government agency Statistics Canada reported a 266 percent increase in the number of jobs nationwide in the cannabis industry year-over-year. About half are clustered in Ontario.

The report called the cannabis industry “a budding source of employment.”

The increase happened gradually through the year as businesses prepared for the start of legal adult-use cannabis sales. In August, the employment numbers began to increase more rapidly, reaching 10,371 by November.

Statistics Canada also reported that most cannabis workers were in full-time jobs and making a higher minimum wage ($29.58) than the national average ($27.03).

Related: What Canada's Legalization of Marijuana Means to the US, Eh

Thousands of Job Openings

According to Bloomberg, the number of open jobs in the cannabis industry was about 1,700 at the beginning of December. Also, the online job site Indeed reports that marijuana accounts for 34 out of every 10,000 jobs listed in Canada, triple the number from a year ago.

Those numbers are expected to grow as the marijuana industry expands. For example, Canadian officials are expected to allow for the sale of cannabis-infused edibles in 2019, something currently not available in the Canadian cannabis market.

Sales have been strong, just as they have been in states in the U.S. with legalized recreational and medical marijuana. So many people bought cannabis in the first few days of sales in Canada that there was a shortage for a time.

Statistics Canada has estimated that total sales of marijuana in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2018 will reach between $816 million to $1 billion. They project that 5.4 million Canadians will make marijuana purchases in the legal market.

They also noted that much depends on those who used to buy marijuana illegally and those who never used marijuana before. The agency wrote that legal marijuana demand “will depend on how many current users of illegal cannabis switch to legal cannabis and on how many current non-users of illegal cannabis decide to use cannabis after its legalization.”

Related: 7 Interesting Things to Know About Canada's Legalization of Marijuana

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