Cultivation Offers Highest Earning Potential for Cannabis Workers

cultivation, cannabis
Photo: Amarett Jans

OTTAWA, Ontario -The cannabis industry may be creating new jobs at a breakneck pace, but that doesn’t mean everyone is raking in the cash.

According to payscale.com, the average budtender earns $11.93 per hour. But cultivation could offer much more lucrative compensation.

A Canadian cannabis staffing agency has released findings that show cultivators stand to earn the highest wages. According to Alison McMahon, founder and CEO of Cannabis at Work, there has been a 14-percent increase in cultivation positions in Canada over the past year. Despite the increase in this sector, growers and processors are still in extremely high demand.

“If there’s anywhere in the sector where we’re seeing a talent shortage or skill shortage, it’s on the cultivation side,” McMahon told the Toronto Star.

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McMahon says cultivation and quality control professional positions fetch between $81,000 and $103,000 per year. These salaries are substantially higher than the average Canadian salary of $51,000 per year.

Legal cannabis in Canada is in its early stages. Recreational cannabis sales are expected to begin in late summer or early fall, increasing the demand for qualified growers. However, with the industry being as young as it is, those workers can be difficult to come by.

“The problem is that we still have a lag in terms of actual enrollment into those programs and actual graduation from those programs,” McMahon said.

McMahon feels some applicants are worried about the stigma of working in the cannabis industry. However, it seems that cannabis is more and more being accepted.

“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.”

As companies prepare for legal recreational sales in Canada, this could be the perfect time to join the industry. The Canadian cannabis market is expected to become a 5 $billion industry by 2019 and will soar to $22 billion once edible sales are legalized. A total of 150,000 jobs are expected to be created from legalized cannabis in Canada.

“This has already been a crazy industry, it’s about to get even wilder,” McMahon said.

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