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These are pre-legalization numbers, and since legalization, the challenge has become measuring both legal and underground cannabis consumption.
Alberta has taken the lead as Canada’s primary consumer of legal cannabis, punching above its weight by buying 38% of Canadian recreational cannabis despite having only 11.6% of the country’s population.
With its long-established underground cannabis infrastructure, British Columbia scores lower on the legal-consumption scale—but it remains unclear how much people are spending on unlicensed cannabis.
As Ontario (where 38.6% of Canadians live) announces plans to bring the number of adult-use cannabis retailers in that province from 25 up to 75, Alberta offers far and away the largest variety of recreational cannabis retailers, expecting more than 200 cannabis stores to open by fall (as of this week, there are 156).
Alberta’s retail boom has meant increased hiring—and job seekers in the economically challenged provinces have taken notice, flooding cannabis companies with resumés.
“My worry is it’s going to get really competitive out there with all the licenses that are going to come out,” one retail HR person told the Globe and Mail. “People may start offering signing bonuses.”
In Penticton BC, 17 openings at a BC Liquor Distribution Branch cannabis store drew a variety of aspiring applicants to a BCLDB Cannabis job fair. In southwestern Ontario, meanwhile, producers are enjoying a boom-time surge of workers.