One of the big challenges facing the legal Cannabis industry is not only job creation and workplace standards, but also workers’ rights. That is why the 8th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals of our Full Spectrum Manifesto is to protect labour rights; promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; full and productive employment; and decent work for all. We know that #CannabisCanHelpSouthAfrica!
When forecasting the employment potential of a legally regulated market for Cannabis, it is obvious that the country will benefit greatly from this legalisation. It is important though, to ensure that quality of employment takes places – in more than one aspect. Regulatory protections, workplace safety oversight and insurance are only a few basic protections that a person employed in the Cannabis industry, should have access to.
In Leafly.com’s Job Report 2020 some of the problems experienced in the United States’ legal Cannabis market include fundamental issues such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ refusal to acknowledge the existence of legal Cannabis jobs. With no recognised employment, these workers have no official professional existence – those who aren’t officially counted, don’t officially exist. This means that these people are still considered as illegal workers, which is just outrageous considering that the state of Massachusetts now has more legal cannabis workers than hair stylists and cosmetologists.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) explains that “much forced labour involves underground or illegal activities and is otherwise hidden from public view.” These “underground / illegal workers” have no idea of the work conditions they deserve and are left powerless against threats from law enforcement or even organized crime units. If workers’ rights are to be protected, forced labour must end and a strong set of guidelines and regulations for best practice in the Cannabis workplace needs to be established.
Job Creation in the Legal Cannabis Industry
The employment potential from legalising Cannabis is huge. The industry is mostly untapped and new job opportunities will be developed as the Cannabis industry grows. The below list is not exhaustive by any means, but gives an indication of the industries that we believe can be influenced by Cannabis:
|Direct Positions||Support Industry Positions|
|Farmer / Master Grower
Tester /Quality Control Inspector
Dispensary Manager / Budtender
Dispensary Reception and Cashier
Courier / Delivery man
Trimmer/ Harvester/ Cultivator
Quality control/ Safety/ Compliance Consultant
Jarring (machine maintenance)
DPC Administrator/ Secretary
Human Resources Manager
Digital Media Manager
HVAC Technician (Grow Aircon and Vent)
Real Estate Agent
Executive or Admin Assistant
External compliance officer
Accountant / Bookkeeper
Workplace Governance Inspector
An important note to consider is the fact that the skills required by the legal Cannabis market, are already present in the existing non-regulated Cannabis industry. That is why we believe legacy and/or skilled people who were previously involved in Cannabis-related activities (illegally so), should receive first priority in employment in the legal Cannabis industry. All efforts must be made to utilise existing skilled labour as part of government’s responsibility to assist and monitor the transition of populations previously involved in Cannabis cultivation. This includes the ethical principle of of Historical justice, remedy and reparations for victims of Human Rights, so that no-one is left behind.
The potential of a legal Cannabis industry in South Africa is enough to get our minister of Finance excited. Let’s hope that the rights of workers in this new industry will not be left behind.