EDMONTON -- Amanda Bladon sits at her dining room table in west Edmonton and opens a waxed-sealed envelope that lists five products. Then she smokes those products. Each one of them is a different strain of marijuana.

It’s a typical day for Bladon. It’s not a hobby; it’s a job.

Bladon works for the organization A Higher Level of Thought. She’s part of a team of eight Canadians, tasked with sampling and evaluating marijuana. The company then helps stores and chains select the strains they’ll sell.

“It’s a lot more in-depth than just getting paid to smoke weed,” Bladon told CTV News Edmonton.

“We want to look for moisture levels, we want to look if it’s too dry, we want that smell to hit us right when we open the package. It’s pretty scientific when you get down to it.”

Bladon’s job would not have existed before Oct. 17, 2018. At least, not legally.

Now, she’s part of a growing workforce in the cannabis industry.

According to Statistics Canada, 9,200 people worked in the sector by late summer. In just the first three months of this year, the industry paid $107 million in taxes to various levels of government.

There are currently about 50 pot stores either open or licensed to open in Edmonton, and more than 300 across Alberta.


The rules for where pot smoking is allowed vary from city to city and town to town. Legalization was done federally, with further restrictions imposed by provinces, and individual bylaws decided by municipalities.

In Edmonton, generally, smoking pot outside, in public is permitted, but you must be at least 10 metres away from the nearest door, window, air intake, bus stop or patio.

Smoking is prohibited in any park that has a playground, a sports field or an off-leash dog area.

You can smoke pot in most other parks, with a few exceptions, including Hawrelak Park and Fort Edmonton Park.

A comprehensive list is on the city’s website.