Amidst the pandemic, the cannabis industry has seen massive growth. In particular, the industry has become a haven for workers who have moved from other sectors.
The cannabis industry expanding is nothing new. The sector has seen steady growth over the years. For example, in Canada, sales of legal cannabis managed to double in 2020, despite the pandemic. And as the industry grows, more workers from other sectors are moving over to find new job opportunities. In particular, retail and restaurant workers have looked to the cannabis industry for employment.
The Pandemic Search for Job Stability
One of the primary reasons why the cannabis industry has attracted new workers is because of job stability. Due to the pandemic, many found themselves facing employment uncertainty. This is especially true for those working in service sectors, which were some of the hardest hit due to lockdowns and Covid-19 protocols. Thankfully many parts of the US and Canada deemed medical marijuana an “essential” service. Meaning, dispensaries could continue serving customers even as other businesses were facing closures.
As a result, the cannabis industry during the pandemic became a new safe haven for employment. In 2020, the American cannabis sector saw 80,000 new workers. This number is double what the industry managed in 2019. Currently, the number of workers sits at 321,000 total, making the cannabis industry one of the fastest-growing in America. The story is much the same in Canada, with new businesses opening during the pandemic year.
Cannabis A Malleable Industry
Workers are looking at the cannabis industry, not just for employment but also for career growth. Though most dispensaries offer wages similar to retail or restaurant work, the potential for upward movement is immense. Being a relatively new market, the cannabis industry sees new positions opening up all the time. As a result, new workers will find themselves filling more specialized roles quite quickly. This then means greater pay and wider benefits.
But as with any new market, volatility exists within the industry. Currently, there is no set standard for workers’ compensation or protection. For some, finding work at a dispensary is no different from the long hours and minimum pay that comes with a retail job. Ultimately, the direction workers are headed will depend on the decisions the industry makes in the future. There is potential for steadier, more secure jobs if the industry doubles down on workers’ rights and security.
If you are working in the cannabis industry, feel free to share your experience in the comments below.