Cannabis in the workplace

Photo by Kaatje Sanz

Valerie, an employee who works at the peace pipe is excited for the legalization of cannabis.

Some beer companies are planning on switching to cannabis-infused beers instead of hops, according to the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, one of the four companies who participated in a recent Q and A session at Durham College.

By the end of this year cannabis can be purchased legally in store or online in Canada.

That doesn’t mean that anyone can grow it or sell it, though Tom Ritchie, director of training at Ample Organics, says there will be strict rules for producers and participants.

“Take any job anywhere, and you will not find more stricter regulations than what the government has planned for licensed producers. It is the most regulated industry that the world has ever seen,” said Ritchie.

The federal government will continue to oversee all operations, which means a licence will still have to be purchased to distribute cannabis.

“Not all provinces have the same distribution process. Ontario producers will be strictly run by the government, unlike Alberta where they are planning on letting private retailers distribute cannabis,” said Saperia.

According to Saperia, there are 90 licensed producers of cannabis across Ontario with 235,000 patients who purchased medical marijuana last year.

There are a variety of professional jobs that will be available when cannabis is legalized, including growers, quality control, operations and security and much more, according to Barrie Smith, a recruitment consultant with the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.

Employers are looking for people who want to work within the industry, but not necessarily want to work hands-on with cannabis. Other jobs within the field include financial advisers, retail managers, and heating and energy efficiency technicians.

Many other industries will also be affected by legalization of cannabis, according to Smith.

Evio, a Canadian cosmetic company, plans to sell 23,000 tubes of topical products that contain cannabis, such as eye liner, lipsticks and many other kinds of make ups, shortly after legalization.

A tech company will also sell a virtual reality stimulator that will enhance the feeling of “being high” without ingesting cannabis.

Even Statistics Canada is getting involved. The agency has hired a contractor to test wastewater to manage THC levels, so the government can access the most accurate data to identify how much cannabis is being used and consumed in Canada.

Smith says employers will be looking for professionalism within in the industry. They are also looking for transferable skills.

“We want to know your skills, and talents and how we can translate them into the workforce of the cannabis industry,” says Smith.

Durham College is one of the first schools to have the Medical Cannabis Fundamentals for Business Professionals course. Amber Johnson is an instructor.

She says the course consists of learning about the plant itself, the history of the plant, and helping people prepare for interviews for jobs within the industry.

The legalization of cannabis will have a positive impact on Canada because people have been using it for years for health and leisure purposes, according to Johnson.

“Hemp, which is a strain of cannabis was the first plant grown in Canada. Humans have been using cannabis as a medical treatment for more than 26,000 years and we’ve forgotten that,” said Johnson.

The course will be available at Durham College on March 24 and 25. The course is $450.

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Kaatje is a Durham Journalism student. She enjoy's reading, writing. She uses her writing as way to express things. She enjoy's being in nature and writing about it.