How Cannabis Sales Are Affecting Canada’s Employment Rate

By Beth Leipholtz 12/11/18

A new report suggests that the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada has made a positive impact on unemployment rates. 

Woman from Canada discussing employment rate after cannabis legalization

Canada’s unemployment rate is the lowest since 1976 – and the country may have the legalization of cannabis to thank.

According to new data from Statistics Canada, the legalization and growth of the cannabis industry have played a role in the drop in unemployment.

High Times pointed out that the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% in November, bringing the rate to 5.6%. In six different Canadian provinces, the rates increased, and the report stated that “private sector jobs” grew the most while public sector jobs and self-employment remained fairly unchanged. Cannabis was legalized in Canada in October. 

Part of the report focused specifically on the cannabis industry and stated that in November, the month following legalization, there were 10,400 jobs related to the industry. In comparison, last November there were 7,500 fewer jobs in the industry, meaning that in one year, the jobs more than doubled. 

More specifically, 58% of those jobs were in agriculture, while the other 42% ranged from educational services to health care to retail. Those working in the industry were also making more wage-wise than average, at about $29.58 per hour in comparison to the average of $27.03.

The report also states that men were more likely to work in the industry than women, as men made up about 79% of jobs in the cannabis industry. 

Alison McMahon, founder and CEO of Cannabis at Work, tells The Growth Op that the biggest demand for jobs is coming from licensed producers needing assistance with growing, cultivation, quality checks, post-production and order fulfillment. And the market will likely keep growing, as McMahon adds that “we expect to see a lot of jobs emerge around extraction, formulation and product R&D (research and development).” 

In fact, there is even a new job engine dedicated solely to cannabis-related jobs. Brian Sekandi, the co-founder of Careers Cannabis, agrees that more and more research related jobs will be emerging over time. He also tells The Growth Op that he thinks jobs will be opening in the marketing of cannabis as more products hit the market.

“With the massive restrictions on brand marketing and advertising the cannabis industry is faced with now, the big challenge is on how to educate consumers – particularly those who may be new cannabis users – about the different types of cannabis that are available to them and what the effects are of using cannabis,” Sekandi said. 

Sekandi added that as of now, those working in the industry in Canada are ahead of much of the world.

“Things are only going to go up from here for people gaining skills and experience in the Canadian cannabis industry,” he said. “The trend is definitely toward more liberalized cannabis laws being introduced around the world, so anybody who starts working in the industry in Canada today has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at the ground floor of a global industry and to help shape it for years to come.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.