How the grass may actually be greener in cannabis retail

While restaurateurs are struggling to find workers, there are signs that at least some former servers and kitchen staff have moved on to greener pastures: Cannabis retail, according to a report from NOW Magazine.

‘I’m worth more than this’

Toronto’s Riley Martin, 29, worked in restaurants and bars for years until the pandemic hit, and she was laid off. The ensuing period of unemployment helped her realize that she could transfer those customer-centric skills to cannabis retail, this time with a consistent wage, potential growth and benefits.

“[The drawbacks of restaurant work] aren’t always easy to see when you’re caught up in the grind,” said Martin, who just visited the dentist for the first time in years. “I think having a forced break has made a lot of people say ‘I’m worth more than this.’”

Job-switching, not laziness

It’s a very different narrative from the one that has dominated so many headlines across the continent: That former restaurant workers are enjoying government handouts too much to return to work. 

In Ontario at least, it appears that many are simply finding new work. Unemployment fell by two per cent since January, and employment rose in accommodation and food services.

Retail on shaky ground

While cannabis retail continues to grow all over North America, Ontario recently hit the 1,000 store mark. It’s seems likely that some stores in the province may close or consolidate — and take their jobs with them. 

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