According to Ackrell Capital, legal cannabis in North America is likely be worth over $100 billion by 2027. All that money means new jobs (Deloitte predicts as many 150,000 will be created in Canada alone), many of them coming from the country’s booming tech sector.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for skilled talent looking to mix things up and expand their experience,” says Daneal Charney, director of talent at MaRS. “More than in corporate environments, startups offer high-value experiences that foster agility and resilience. Working in tech, particularly the fledgling cannabis space, is great for risk takers who want to develop business acumen in an emerging industry.”
A career in cannabis is about more than horticulture. Consider Ample Organics, Canada’s leading cannabis software developer. The company helps clients track harvests, navigate regulatory systems and sell product (to name a few of its offerings), all while servicing 75 per cent of the country’s licensed producers. With a market share like that, it’s no surprise the company is almost always hiring. Take a look at the startup’s Careers page and you’ll notice its employee needs are incredibly diverse and ever-changing: scrum master; DevOps engineer; customer support representative; marketing professional; you name it.
While life at Ample Organics presents many benefits (luxurious office, great staff meals and canine teammates, to name a few), the company’s most important offering may be professional development. Account Manager Paulina Lizewski, for example, had no prior cannabis experience before joining the team — now she considers herself an industry expert. “You have to constantly learn about every facet of the business, from farming to prescription processes to software architecture,” she says. “It’s a great challenge, but I do it because I care about the company.”
Still, switching sectors, especially to one as new as cannabis, can be intimidating. Recently, we reached out to Sarah Crandlemire, director of people and culture at Ample Organics. Here are her tips for would-be cannabis workers:
Our sector is populated by many intelligent and hardworking people. If you’re still skeptical, consider cannabis’s many health benefits. Read medical studies, watch documentaries and speak to people in the industry. Legalization in Canada has created many employment opportunities, particularly in the innovation ecosystem.
Research the cannabis industry as well as the specific company for wish to work for. Ask yourself these questions: What is its mission? What are its values? What do current and past employees say about working there? Why do you want to be a part of it? Doing homework will build your confidence and impress a hiring manager in an interview.
There are countless cannabis forums taking place across Ontario. Events like Leaf Forward and TechTO have panels with keynote speakers who’ve had great success in the cannabis space. Attending events like these is a great opportunity to network with industry professionals.
I’ve interviewed solid candidates who were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about cannabis but were not the best fit for the roles they applied to. Thanks to LinkedIn updates, I’ve noticed several of these high-potential people land jobs with other companies, which always brings a smile to my face. Perseverance is a must when looking to join the cannabis community.
Sign up for the MaRS Startup Careers newsletter to stay informed about the latest job opportunities in the cannabis sector and beyond.