Recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada on Wednesday and the people behind the till at Saskatchewan’s new pot shops might not be who you’d expect.
People from all walks of life are making the switch to the marijuana business, seeing it as an opportunity to be part of a budding industry.
“The ability to help build a sector prior to the global market coming online is something that, as a Canadian, I don’t think has ever happened before,” Nathan Mison said in an interview with 650 CKOM.
He left a position in public relations to get in on the ground floor as vice-president of government and stakeholder relations with Fire and Flower, which will operate retail cannabis outlets in Yorkton and North Battleford, with another 10 locations in Alberta.
For Corey Tyacke, moving to the pot industry made sense after years in hospitality.
“Everything that kind of goes with marijuana is very transferable into what I learned in the wine industry,” Tyacke said.
He’s working as retail sales manager with 5 Buds Cannabis, which will run stores in North Battleford, Warman and Yorkton.
In Saskatoon, Geoff Conn went from from manufacturing and installing engineered foundations across North America to opening The Pot Shack.
“When you have an opportunity like a brand-new industry opening up in a great country like Canada, you’ve got to take a shot at it,” Conn said.
He says the people involved in his store are hard-working with great attitudes.
“They’re taking a step into a new industry and being kind of trailblazers,” Conn said.
Each business is also employing dozens of people in the province to work in retail, administration and, in the case of Fire and Flower, production.
Tyacke said, so far, one of his favourite parts of his new job has been training up new employees.
“I spent the last couple years learning about the product and learning about the compliance and stuff that goes with this. And now, it’s just really getting my team live on the floor and watching them engage with our guests.”
Mison said both his biggest joys and his biggest headaches stem from the constantly changing nature of the new industry in everything from supply, to regulation, to building a team and creating a retail experience.
“It makes you stay on your toes, which is very enjoyable. But it’s pretty hard to make sure that you’re always ready to pivot.”