How much did legalization affect the employment rates in Canada?

Published May 16, 2019 12:29 p.m. ET
Photo by Marily Torres from Pexels

Now that marijuana is legal right across Canada, the verdict is in on how the legalization of the plant affected the country's unemployment rates. Most people had hoped that the introduction of the marijuana industry would help to stimulate the country's economy by creating more jobs and helping to increase the average Canadians standard of living. The true results on how many cannabis jobs were created are now here and have been released by statistics Canada for the world to see.

Though cannabis stocks have been steadily dropping since legalization thanks to new companies having to sin every extra penny into expanding to remain competitive, the marijuana industry is officially booming and offering an exciting peek into what the future might have to offer.

Canada’s current unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 1976, and it looks like the marijuana industry might be the reason for this improvement. Though Statistics Canada does not consider individuals who reside in the country and are not looking for work, it does give a glimpse into an epidemic that has been growing worse each year. With more companies closing, and less above minimum wage jobs being offered, the introduction of a specialized industry was a massive boost for Canadians in the first six months after legalization.

In the very first month following cannabis legalization, there was a huge influx of medium to high paying positions thanks to the marijuana industry. The total, which was 10 400 jobs, replaced the 7500 that was lost from the closing of several large factories mainly in the automotive industry. It was a difficult drop for Canadians to take, but cannabis jobs might be the future that we have all been waiting for. Current predictions for 2019 are estimating a doubling of these kind of cannabis job, and that’s not all.

These marijuana industry positions do have some minimum wage workers, but the amount that typical cannabis workers get paid is far above the countrywide average. 58% of those jobs were in the agricultural sector, while the remaining 42% were positioned like education, health care, and retail. The average pay for these cannabis jobs is $29.58 per hour which is impressive when compared to the typical pay in any other industry which sits at $27.03 per hour. So far it also looks like men have been the main ones to benefit with over 79% of the people who are filling these positions being male.

The only slightly disconcerting thing so far is that those male dominated numbers are not just the general laborer positions. Men outnumber women almost two to one in all these positions. It was only last month that infamous Gia won the O’Cannabiz Industry Award for being the very first dispensary owner in all of Canada which shows a massive gender gap. It is unclear still if this is because these positions come from such a male dominated industry, or if women in general just don’t like marijuana as much as men. What we do know is that the cannabis industry has helped to rise the number of employed Canadians by two whole points in just six months which is a huge win for the country, and an excellent start to marijuana legalization as the world watches in awe for our results.

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