7 career options in Canada's growing cannabis industry

Jun 15 2019, 3:15 am

Since legalization, Canada’s cannabis industry has experienced exponential growth and an increase in sales for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

In fact, the cannabis industry is expected to be worth $5 billion by 2021, according to a report issued by Brightfield Group, a cannabis research firm. The report’s findings revealed that the total number of cannabis sales in the country was approximately $210 million between mid-October and the end of 2018.

Of course, the expedited growth of the cannabis industry has increased the demand for jobs across a broad spectrum, with many unique career opportunities opening for Canadians. Halfway through July 2018, employment search engine Indeed reported that cannabis-related searches were four times higher than at the same point in 2017.

Normal growth for a company might mean hiring six new employees in one year. In contrast, Canadian cannabis producers like HEXO Corp are onboarding up to 30 people per week in some cases. So, if you have been looking for greener (literally) pastures in your future job prospects, here’s a look at seven careers in cannabis you may not have considered.



If you are someone who has expert cannabis product knowledge, taking on a budtender role could be the perfect fit for you. This career typically involves working at a retail outlet where medicinal or recreational cannabis is sold.

It’s a budtender’s responsibility to stay on top of current trends and offer assistance to customers, answer any questions they may have, and explain the difference between cannabis strains such as THC and CBD. Solid communication skills are required for this role, and the ideal candidate must be comfortable handling and showcasing cannabis products.

Lab technician

Lab work is an integral part of the cannabis industry, and it will continue that way as the industry evolves with new products and technologies. Consequently, the demand for lab technicians is high. In general, if you’re considering working in this role you should have experience working in a lab, along with a degree in a science such as microbiology.

Working alongside experts in the cannabis realm, a lab technician’s duties can cover a wide range of activities from product purity testing and sample preparation to testing new extraction and isolation technologies.

Master grower

Master grower/Shutterstock

Canada’s craft brewery scene has been thriving for years, and chances are you’ve heard of the position ‘master brewer’ by now. In the cannabis world, a master grower holds a similar high-level role, except their focus is on the growth and production of healthy cannabis plants, instead of ale.

Stepping into the role of master grower requires a wealth of practical knowledge in the industry, as well as growing experience, clone cultivation and environmental and biological pest controls. If you’re an engineer, scientist, or horticulturist with the relevant cannabis industry experience, becoming a master grower could be your next big career move.

QA manager

Almost every large-scale company has a quality department to ensure benchmarks are met and adequate testing is adhered to. The same goes for cannabis producers, which is why the demand is high for these positions. QA managers are responsible for approving batches of cannabis before they’re released for sale to clients.

It’s their job to investigate any complaints that come in, as well as train employees, and keep records on file ready for audit. If you’ve got a background in chemical sciences and you enjoy monitoring and implementing systems which comply with industry policies, the QA manager position could be a good fit for you.

Master extractor

Master extractor/Shutterstock

Cannabis labs don’t just start themselves — that’s where a master extractor comes in. In this role, the extractor takes charge of setting up, running and operating the lab, from pre to postproduction. Labs can be dangerous places to work if they’re not maintained in a safe and organized way.

The master extractor takes charge in ensuring that any assigned cannabis labs keep a high standard of cleanliness, as well as overseeing everything from extraction to the cleaning of the facility. Many of the people hired for this position have PhD qualifications.

Cultivation associate

In order for cannabis plants to meet strict growing standards, a cultivation associate needs to be hired. This individual is responsible for the upkeep and sanitation throughout assigned cultivation rooms. They assist with everything from cleaning to pruning cannabis plants, mixing, transplanting, cloning, and handling cannabis products. You could apply for this role if you have knowledge of greenhouse cultivation techniques and a background in commercial horticulture.

Store manager

Store manager/Shutterstock

The demand for store manager roles is rising as more retail outlets open across Canada. If you have previous retail or dispensary managerial experience, this could be a great fit for you. A dispensary store manager is responsible for directly hiring and training their staff, as well as selling products to customers in-store. Having sales skills and cannabis product knowledge also lend to success in this career. In this position, your opportunities for growth could include promotions to regional or national store manager roles, with the potential to travel for work.

Daily Hive StaffDaily Hive Staff

+ Grow