As the first G8 country to legalize adult-use cannabis on the Federal level, there are growing number of opportunities across the industry here in Canada. Furthermore, Canada is leading the way in establishing industry standards that other countries will likely model as they develop their own regulatory framework for medical and recreational cannabis, creating future opportunities in the industry on the international level where Canadian expertise will be required. Upon graduation, students can choose a variety of careers paths in this new and exciting.
Potential career opportunities in the cannabis industry include working at large or small-scale cannabis cultivation or processing facilities in the quality assurance, cultivation, and packaging departments as well as in cannabis extraction, analytical testing and product development laboratories. A number of graduates have also secured positions with leading cannabis retail companies working as store managers, brand ambassadors and inventory specialists.
The diverse roles and opportunities within the cannabis industry lead to a variety of duties and responsibilities being performed by prospective employees. As an example, Cannabis Cultivation Technicians work directly with the plants, conducting routine care such as pruning, watering, cloning and a number of other horticulture related tasks. They may also be responsible for breeding, tissue culture, cultivar selection, and integrated pest management. Quality Assurance Technicians plays an integral role in mitigating the risk of contamination, developing and ensuring all staff are following SOPs as well as conducting sampling and product release. Processing Technician oversee the harvesting and packaging of the final product and may also work on product development, processing the cannabis and creating new cannabis products such as confectionaries, lotions and other derivatives. On the laboratory side, industry hopefuls working in analytical testing departments provide third-party verified results on THC and CBD ratios, as well as measuring contaminant levels ensuring it meets all quality and safety standards. Extraction technicians work to develop cannabis products like concentrates, oils and capsules as well as the input material like distillate for edible cannabis products.
To be successful in the cannabis industry, candidates must be self-motivated, hard-working and have the ability to take initiative. Having a comprehensive understanding of the industry, including how to follow industry best-practices effectively, meet regulatory compliance, with Health Canada and create Quality Management Systems will all be indispensable tools as you move forward in your career. Having a passion for cannabis itself, as well as the industry as a whole, can also be a huge asset. You will often be required to perform multiple tasks at a time, being highly adaptable to different situations will lead to developing a diverse set of skills and experience in a variety of facets of the industry. Candidates should possess strong communication skills, the ability to solve problems and highly focused on execution and effective team management. Highly successful cannabis industry professionals are driven by the desire to achieve operational excellence in all areas, whether it is improving yields in cultivation, cutting costs around harvesting and packaging, or delivering exceptional customer service.
Typically a starting salary for entry level positions in the cannabis industry begin at around $40k plus benefits.
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