Home > Career change: The pros and cons of switching from pharmaceutical to cannabis

Career change: The pros and cons of switching from pharmaceutical to cannabis

The Canadian Cannabis industry is positioned for extreme growth in the coming years and, with that, comes companies within the industry eager to hire new employees.

Being that the regulatory and quality guidelines for ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) companies are akin to those of the pharmaceutical industry, individuals with strong backgrounds in the production of pharmaceutical products are in high demand.

This leads professionals in the pharmaceutical industry to weigh the pros and the cons of making such a switch, from pharma to cannabis. For those considering a career change, we have outlined the pros and cons of doing so below, to help guide you in your decision.




  1. Excitement: Making the transition from the pharmaceutical industry to the cannabis industry allows you to be at the forefront of a new and exciting business. Much like getting to be the first to buy the new iPhone or try the newest technology, being part of the cannabis industry allows you to be amongst the first professionals in the industry to make their mark.


  1. TSX: Over the last year, Canadian Cannabis stocks have been on every investor’s radar. The TSX has seen leaders of the cannabis industry join its listing and offer investors a new venue into cannabis ventures. Joining some of these companies as an employee allows you access to shares that can lead to a very attractive payout long-term.


  1. Salary: With greater demand, comes higher salaries. With the rapidly approaching changes in legislation, professionals capable of guiding leaders in the Cannabis industry to approval and the production of specialized and innovative products are in high demand. If you can prove your worth to a company and help them bring their products to market and to the consumer, you may see a nice bump up in your paycheck.


  1. Career growth: Due to the rapid movement in the Cannabis industry, individuals proving their ability to produce results and innovation will quickly climb the professional ladder and train newcomers to the industry. While it may have traditionally taken individuals 5 years for promotion, there is a tendency for more rapid career growth in the Cannabis industry.



  1. The unknown: With an industry as new as the Cannabis industry, there comes the fear of the unknown. Though the current changes in legislation are promising for the industry, as Cannabis companies continue to innovate and produce product, one can anticipate more stringent guidelines imposed by regulatory bodies and continuing changes in quality standards.


  1. Location: For someone looking to enter the Cannabis industry, they might have to consider making a big change in geographical location. Interested candidates will have to go to where the licensed producers and jobs are, which has a tendency to be on the West coast or Ontario. Of the 114 currently licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes under the ACMPR, 61 are located in Ontario and 25 are located in BC. Unless you are located in these provinces, you might need to consider moving (See map of producers).


  1. Resources: With so few ACMPR licensed producers and products on the market, comes few experts in the field and resources to rely on when one is working in the Cannabis industry. For instance, many Cannabis companies have to re-purpose production equipment used for different food, or pharmaceutical products; in order to make them work for their processes. This requires a certain level of trial and error, as well as risk, which might not be for everyone.


  1. Benefit package: Large pharmaceutical organizations are among those, who offer the most attractive benefits packages in the nation! Making the switch to a smaller, more entrepreneurial organization in the Cannabis industry may mean saying goodbye to such packages that can have a great impact, depending on the individual.


In the end, the decision to make the transition from the pharmaceutical industry to the Cannabis industry is one that involves many factors that differ depending on one’s priorities and current situation. It is our hope that the list above brings forth some thinking points on this important decision and the potential aspects involved in the transition.


BY: Groom and Associates, a Canadian agency specialized in recruitment within the cannabis industry.


Last modified: August 20, 2018

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