Dad might have no problem making sure everyone has a cold beer in their hand at the family picnic this summer, but grandma might be a bit more hesitant to bring her special brownies to the party once cannabis is legalized.
“I would argue that mentality is because most Canadians don’t necessarily understand the product variation [in cannabis] that exists today,” said Jay Rosenthal, co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis.
TORONTO — Even though Ernest Small was the biggest legal grower of legal marijuana in North America back in the 1970s and is the federal government’s foremost pot expert, the Canadian researcher is in disbelief that the country is on the cusp of legalizing the drug’s recreational use.
The principal research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who was recently named to the Order of Canada last week for his vast body of work, says the atmosphere around marijuana in government and law enforcement circles was “repressive and conservative” for decades.
“I would never have predicted that we would come to this. … There was not the slightest suggestion that one day, marijuana could be a legal commodity,” he said in an interview. “It just didn’t seem possible.”
Now, there are more than 80 licensed producers of cannabis in the country, all of whom are ramping up production to be ready for the July 2018 deadline for the legalization of recreational marijuana across the country, while pot company stocks have been on fire for months.
But looking back, Small had to aggressively plead his case with the government to allow him to begin researching weed, when he joined as a researcher in 1969.
Canadian marijuana companies are on a hiring spree, looking to fill an array of roles as they gear up for the legalization of recreational cannabis later this year.
The workforce is booming, said Alison McMahon, who runs Cannabis At Work, a staffing agency focused on the burgeoning industry.
Right now, she’s recruiting for positions in everything from growing and production to sales and marketing, all across the country.
Stigma may once have kept people from applying for work with a cannabis company, but those perceptions have shifted and people are now excited about the opportunities, McMahon said.
“I think that the people, at this point, who are looking at the industry and are excited really see the upside and the growth potential,” she said. “More and more people are open to this topic, so it doesn’t end up being that big of a deal.”
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