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The Paradox of Attracting Key Talent in the Canadian Cannabis Industry: Turning Over a New Leaf

Managing Talent: A Critical Appreciation

ISBN: 978-1-83909-094-3, eISBN: 978-1-83909-093-6

Publication date: 2 October 2019


In October 2018, the Canadian federal government legalized the use of recreational cannabis with a goal to drastically diminish the black-market and the use of cannabis by minors. The attraction of talent to the new industry has been recognized as important to long-term industry success, but there exists a paradox in talent attraction. Key talent must first be screened by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Anyone with serious criminal charges in the past may not be cleared to work in the industry, blocking out experienced cannabis talent. Additionally, some potential talent may not be interested in working the legitimized industry although others may welcome the opportunity to work in it. HR managers have a rare opportunity to be trailblazers by establishing the norms for the industry. Their role should be established in the boardroom, but they will have to demonstrate their value through their ability to build talent in an industry made up largely of SMEs. We use a nested model of macro and micro TM perspectives to analyze the context of this industry. At the macro level we investigate how legalization, government regulation, legitimacy, and reputation affect TM within the micro level context. We suggest how HRM strategies related to attraction, development and retention can impact TM. The integration of the macro and micro level context of TM is paramount to the survival of the new legalized cannabis industry.


McPhee, D.M. and Schlosser, F. (2019), "The Paradox of Attracting Key Talent in the Canadian Cannabis Industry: Turning Over a New Leaf", Swailes, S. (Ed.) Managing Talent: A Critical Appreciation (Talent Management), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 145-162.



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