Tilray Inc., a leading Canadian cannabis producer took a wild roller-coaster ride in the markets during September, after it had been announced that the company may be allowed by U.S. authorities to export cannabis to California for an academic research study. The company’s stock price skyrocketed briefly on the news to bring the its valuation to $11 billion, but then simmered down with speculation that cannabis for the study could be sourced from U.S. growers, according to Forbes columnist Julie Weed.
Though legalities surrounding trade with the U.S. continue to be complicated by America’s federal prohibition on cannabis, Tilray has already exported products to New Zealand, Australia, Cypress, South Africa, South America, and several countries in Europe.
Another positive development from legalization for cannabis-friendly Canadians, according to media reports, is the creation of potentially thousands of cannabis economy jobs.
No longer nearly as stigmatized as prior to legalization, Canadian cannabis companies are headhunting executives and professionals from mainstream industries and established businesses. Many of those tapped seem interested in opportunities for participation in a brand new industry–one with long-term possibilities for changing cultural and societal attitudes, as well as generating huge revenues.
Even the threat of a lifetime ban on travel to the U.S. for those employed in Canada’s cannabis industry does not seem to be having an affect of the number of applicants willing to work. The Vancouver Sun said local governmental agencies that will operate the province’s cannabis distribution and retail facilities are having no lack of interest from eager job applicants.
“We understand that, really, this is a government to government issue. Our role is going to be to work with the employer to make sure that anybody who does take a job in the new branch understands the potential outcomes,” Stephanie Smith, president of the B.C. Government Employees Union, told the Sun.
“We just feel really, really strongly that people who work in a legal industry and, in fact, are working for a provincial government, should not be punished for doing so,” Smith added, referring to the possible ban on travel to the U.S.
Canadian cannabis producers are hiring for existing and new positions up and down their vertical businesses, as well. Alison McMahon, founder and CEO of human resources firm Cannabis at Work, told BNN Bloomberg that 120,000 jobs will be created in Canada during the first year of legalization. She indicated that as the industry gears up for adult-use sales, open job positions have shifted from cultivation and operations roles to more positions in distribution, wholesale, and retail.
In fact, Aphira, Inc., another leading Canadian cannabis producer, warned that after legalization happens on Wednesday, there was likely to be shortages of flower stock and disruptions in the supply chain. Aphira’s chief executive added that as producers continue to gear up to supply demand, shortages might be an issue for a month or two after adult-use is implemented on Wednesday.
A recent study conducted by Canadian think tank C.D. Howe Institute estimated average annual demand to be just over 655 tons, but noted that disruption in the supply chain, stock shortages, and high taxation could drive consumers to access black market product. The institute predicted that if the black market fills the gap for consumers, which seems likely, it could potentially result in a $300-$600 loss of tax revenue for provincial governments until legal cannabis becomes more available and affordable for consumers.