Kitchener’s job fair brings cannabis jobs to the community

Published Oct 31, 2019 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / OlegMalyshev

On October 23, 2018, James E. Wagner Cultivation hosted a job fair in downtown Kitchener Ontario hoping to hire 30-50 individuals. Hundreds of job seekers attended this small event, which left organizers overwhelmed with the positive response from the community. What is so incredible about this job fair isn’t in the number of cannabis jobs that it created for Canadians, but the rate of growth that the company has managed in such a short window of time. Starting from a small-scale grower to a massive and quickly- expanding farm in only one year.

This time last year James W Wagner Cultivation was made up of only 75 employees. Now the company employs over 150 full-time workers, with nearly 50% of them hired over the last six months. Though the weather was unwelcoming, glowing locals full of prospect, applied for cannabis jobs of all kind, but likely not the ones that you might think. James W Wagner Cultivation is not a cannabis dispensary, so they do not have the highly romanticized budtender positions available, but what they were looking for was a passion and willingness for growing marijuana and bud trimming.

With the cannabis industry still maintaining a taboo image, both the business owners and job seekers appeared to be comfortably accepting of this exciting opportunity, which is a wonderful change of pace from the waves of complaints that have plagued cannabis producers in other areas. Though James Wagner had initially posted 50 or less cannabis jobs, by the end of the day, 60 people from the Kitchener area were able to achieve meaningful full-time employment, and a large stack of applications are stashed away for the next round of hiring which is expected to be in the spring of 2020.

Do you need formal education for cannabis jobs?

The answer to this question really depends on the position that you are looking for, as just as it is with any profession, some specialists are required to keep the process of growing marijuana smooth and consistent for consumers. However, none of the cannabis jobs that were available at the Kitchener event required specialized training or education. Employment with a greenhouse where there is growing marijuana typically consists of manual labor-type positions that might including growing, caring for plants, cleaning, security, trimming, packaging, loading/unloading product, and more.

How to get the highest paying cannabis jobs

If you want to be in a higher-paying position within the cannabis industry, then you might need to pursue a formal education in agriculture. While a history or background in other plants and flowers can be especially useful, as much of the knowledge is transferrable, however growing marijuana is much different than your average petunia, rose, or vegetable plant. Doing it while producing the most reliable results is a task that is individual to the species and requires an extensive understanding of cannabis plant anatomy, biology and more.

With that said, not all high paying cannabis jobs are that way. Some budtenders make up to $50,000 per year. Chefs who understand the science behind the process of infusion are making double that, and then there are the more unique, hardly believable cannabis jobs like blunt roller. Where all you need to know is how to roll a blunt with style, and you could be bringing in thousands of dollars per year for something that you probably already do for yourself for free.

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