Pubdate: Fri, 22 Sep 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: 19


Attendees given a taste of what kind of work is possible as marijuana
moves into mainstream

On Thursday morning, Marco Cacchione put on a black button-up shirt,
combed his hair, and walked down Robson Street to a job fair, hoping
to snag a gig in an industry that is quickly emerging from the

After a decade as a line cook, currently at one of Vancouver's casual
fine-dining chains, the 28-year-old said he is ready to make the leap
into cannabis, which is expected to be legalized next July. The
industry will require thousands of workers to meet the likely demand.

Contact dermatitis causes irritation on Cacchione's hands and makes it
painful to work long shifts on the line, so when he heard from a
friend about the job fair - presented by the National Institute for
Cannabis Health and Education - he wanted to see what it had to offer.

"I'm eager to learn about the industry," Cacchione said. "I want to
get involved in the industry. I have a passion for the industry and
I'm slowly being forced out of my current industry."

Deloitte has predicted cannabis could someday be worth $22.6 billion a
year in Canada. Cacchione believes much of this will be spent in
restaurants, and so he plans to adapt his culinary skills and
knowledge to cannabis. (Restaurants in U.S. states where cannabis is
legal already offer it in food such as sushi and pastas.)

The federal government is delaying the legalization of edibles - users
will only be able to buy dried cannabis, oils, seeds and plants next
year - but will someday regulate the sale of cannabis in food form.

"It's something that I think is going to take off pretty soon because
a lot of people who use it don't want to smoke it," Cacchione said.

Aurora Lybarger, 26, came to the fair with a plastic folder stuffed
with resumes.

Lybarger said she likes her landscaping job, but dreads the thought of
another lean winter spent hunting for part-time work. She briefly went
on EI for the first time last year and vows to never do so again. She
hopes to enter the cannabis industry in trimming, cultivation or sales.

"I just figure it's booming. There's huge opportunity right now and I
might as well try and see what it's like," said Surrey's Lybarger.

She met with recruiters from Cannabis At Work, Aurora Cannabis and
several other firms looking to hire accountants, laboratory
technicians, IT staff and dozens of other positions. Close to 300
people had pre-registered for the fair, according to organizers.

Lybarger said she has used cannabis for insomnia and skin irritation.

David Purcell, director of emerging business for Kwantlen Polytechnic
University's two-year-old cannabis program, said that with predictions
of 50,000 to 150,000 positions being created by legalization, the
program must constantly tweak its curriculum and course offerings to
satisfy evolving industry demand and government regulations.

With little known about how the federal government plans to handle
production and how the province plans to handle distribution, students
must be ready for whatever is to come, he said.
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