Cannabis and Work

Working in the cannabis industry in Canada

The legalization of cannabis has created a newly-regulated market in Canada that, when combined with unionization, can provide local communities with much-needed industry, good-paying jobs, and exciting career opportunities.

Across the country, cannabis employees work in a wide range of occupations – including cultivators, pharmacy and laboratory technicians, extractors, and retail sales and service clerks – at everything from growing and processing facilities, to dispensaries and laboratories, to coffee shops and bakeries, to hydroponic stores.

For those interested in working in a cannabis dispensary, UFCW Canada offers a Cannabis Dispensary Specialist course that teaches participants about federal, provincial, and municipal legal requirements, cannabis’ botanical features, how cannabis affects our bodies, product knowledge relating to both selection and usage, and expectations on the job. Visit the Cannabis Dispensary Specialist course website to learn more.

Why do people choose to work in the cannabis industry?

Many Canadians work in the cannabis industry because they believe in the positive difference that the safe and legal consumption of cannabis can make in peoples’ lives, particularly for those who use the drug medicinally.

Others are attracted to the high wages and promising career paths that jobs in the cannabis industry can offer, especially in unionized workplaces.

A number of cannabis workers also support the recreational use of marijuana and are excited to work in an emerging new industry that continues to grow and develop at a rapid pace.

Now that cannabis is legal, UFCW is committed to building a successful industry with a thriving, diverse, and skilled workforce, from coast to coast. With UFCW Canada in their corner, cannabis workers can negotiate better wages and benefits that keep our economy strong. Unionized cannabis workers also enjoy the protections of a collective agreement, more paid vacations and sick days, overtime pay, and health and safety training.

To learn more about the benefits of joining UFCW Canada, and how you can join the union, click here.

How much do cannabis workers make?

In non-unionized workplaces, employers are only required to pay cannabis workers the minimum wage, which varies by province. For example, in Nova Scotia the minimum wage is $10.85 per hour, while in Alberta workers must be paid a minimum of $15 per hour.

By contrast, unionized cannabis workers represented by UFCW make a minimum of $23 per hour and as much as $62 per hour (in Canadian dollars).

If you work in the cannabis industry and feel you are being underpaid, you should consider joining the union. With UFCW Canada in your corner, you and your colleagues will be able to negotiate a collective agreement that clearly outlines wage rates and includes regular wage increases. To learn more about how you can join the union, click here.

Leaving Canada if you consume cannabis or are involved in the cannabis industry

According to the Government of Canada, it is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border. You could be subject to criminal charges if you try to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession. This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not.

Cannabis is illegal in most countries. If you try to travel internationally with any amount of cannabis in your possession, you could be subject to serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. You could also be denied entry at your destination country if you have previously used cannabis or any substance prohibited by local laws.

Canadians travelling to the United States for reasons related to the cannabis industry may be deemed inadmissible.

As a traveller, it is your responsibility to be informed about the laws of the country you intend to visit. This includes the legal status of cannabis use and possession in any country you may travel to. For more information, click here.

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