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

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

GVPL staggers reopening of three more branches in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

More Greater Victoria Library branches to reopen in August

Avoid giving dogs ice cubes, says Greater Victoria vet

Tips for keeping dogs cool and safe this summer

Hungry Hearts Gala goes virtual with new mac and cheese competition

Results will be announced on Facebook live stream event

Rolling the dice on the patina of old copper

At the Galleries: Summer days continue

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read