Employment in Canada’s cannabis industry has nearly quadrupled in the past year, while the number of companies in the space has more than doubled, according to the latest Statistics Canada data.

StatsCan reported Thursday that there are 9,200 people currently working in the Canadian cannabis sector, up from 2,630 in the fiscal 2018 year and 1,438 in fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, the number of companies in the industry is now tallied at 175, up from 83 a year earlier and 37 in 2017, StatsCan said.

The figures come from a profile of federally-licensed cannabis producers, which outlines how employment, inventory levels, sales and other financial metrics have fared in the country’s legal marijuana space over the past three years. The growth figures are not entirely surprising given that Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October, which resulted in a significant hiring spree since that time to meet the demand for the legal product.

As of April, total assets in Canada’s cannabis space reached $4.2 billion, almost double the $2.5 billion that was counted in fiscal 2018, and a significant jump from $704 million in fiscal 2017, according to StatsCan. Investment spending also rose rapidly with $233 million spent in 2018, up from a scant $46 million the prior fiscal year.

Canada’s national statistics agency also said licensed producers sold 46 metric tonnes of cannabis in fiscal 2018 and had 39 metric tonnes of inventory at the end of the year. Those companies reported revenues rose 92 per cent in 2018 and a further 52 per cent by April 2019. Cannabis producers notably registered losses in all years reported, StatsCan added.

Wages, salaries and employee benefits accounted for about 29 per cent of cannabis business expenses, while purchases of raw materials and other inputs represented roughly one-quarter of all costs. Other notable expense categories included marketing fees, energy and professional and business fees.

Meanwhile, about 60 per cent of people employed in the cannabis industry worked on cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and administration. Another 20 per cent were identified to work in packaging, marketing, sales and shipping activities. The remainder worked on quality assurance, research and development, security, engineering and general maintenance activities.

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