Cannabis for sale in the retail market. (San Francisco Examiner)

B.C. craft cannabis co-op aims to get small producers to market

Pilot project pitched to governments for pandemic recovery

The B.C. Craft Farmers Co-op has submitted its proposal for a government-assisted pilot project to get small-scale growers into the legal cannabis market that has been dominated by large producers.

The co-op, a project started by former Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode, has been proposed to the federal and B.C. governments as a two-year economic development and job creation project to make the licensing of small cannabis producers more accessible.

After leaving politics, Rasode founded Grow Tech Labs and the National Institute of Cannabis Health and Education.

“Thousands of micro B.C. cannabis farmers and processors have been excluded from the legal market due to a poorly designed regulatory framework,” the co-op says in its submission to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan, released June 11. “With a globally recognized brand and the most craft farmers in the country, B.C. has the most to lose if these innovators are not provided with an opportunity to apply their skills in the post-prohibition market.”

Horgan’s NDP government expressed the same frustration with Ottawa’s approach in December 2019, when it announced a $676,000 grant administered through Community Futures Central Kootenay. The government’s intent was to take over the marketing side of B.C. craft cannabis from Health Canada.

Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said the application was a grassroots initiative in the Kootenays, which has a long history of black market cannabis, with the local economy threatened by dominance of publicly traded big producers from across Canada.

RELATED: B.C. bud still underground, Horgan hopes to rescue it

RELATED: B.C. craft cannabis growers wind through bureaucracy

The B.C. Craft Farmers Co-op submission notes that of the more than 1.2 million square metres of legal indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation space approved by Health Canada as of Feb. 1, 2020, craft cannabis farmers account for “a microscopic 0.17 per cent.” The pilot project is seeking federal and provincial funds for regional economic development to “rapidly transition” thousands of medical growers previously licensed by Health Canada to produce for the recreational market.

The co-op has more than 100 growers interested in the member-owned concept, and plans to open its online membership application portal by June 20. It plans a July 29 deadline for membership eligibility and board nominations, and a founding general meeting in August.

The proposal to governments emphasizes the need to create economic development after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with rural communities and Indigenous governments.

“The project advisory committee will include a representative from the Union of B.C. Municipalities and dedicate resources to rapidly engage local governments this summer,” the submission states.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturecannabisCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quesnel RCMP investigating hit and run on Quesnel River Bridge

Bridge traffic reduced to single lane alternating

B.C. First Nation hopes to offer new visitor experiences in 2021

Travellers reminded to check for updates on access to Title Lands if visiting this summer

Local war hero ceberating 100 years of life

Derek Beningfield records his grandfather’s history ahead of his 100th birthday on July 14

Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Sasha Sefter says farewell to our readers

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read