BCCFC responded to the federal government’s invitation to provide feedback on their review of the Cannabis Act with a visit to Parliament Hill last month. Our volunteers were joined by the Retail Cannabis Council of BC as they met with BC Members of Parliament to ensure they are aware of how harmful the Cannabis Act has been to BC’s economy, craft farmers, processors, and independent retailers.
Recognizing we can’t wait two years for the review, BCCFC proposed a series of reasonable measures (below) for the government to consider in the short term. These constructive solutions reflect the policy resolutions approved by 400+ delegates that attended April’s BC Cannabis Summit.
- Government has launched an 18-month Cannabis Act review one year late
- They have asked for sector feedback and are open to interim changes
- BC Craft Farmers Co-op (BCCFC), Retail Cannabis Council of BC (RCCBC) and other sector leaders are responding to that invitation.
- Our goal is to achieve the public interest goals of the Cannabis Act, support regional economic development, transition BC craft farmers, and maintain BC’s international brand
Cannabis Act Review
Waiting two years for changes to the Act will be catastrophic for BC craft farmers and the industry in general. BCCFC and RCCBC identified a series of initial questions for the Minister, federal representatives and elected officials to consider:
- What is the Government of Canada going to do over the next 18 months to address urgent challenges facing the sector? How many small, independent cannabis businesses need to close and lay off workers before the Government will take action?
- The federal government has appointed an “expert” panel to review the Act. How will BC and cannabis farmers be represented given our province’s rich cannabis history and culture?
- If the Government is preoccupied with addressing the illicit market, why are they making it so hard for experienced medical and legacy farmers to transition to the legal market?
We have five easy-to-make changes the federal government can make in the interim to help small farmers transition and combat the illicit market. These were supported by 400+ delegates at the April 2022 BC Cannabis Summit in Kelowna:
- Doubling of the unreasonably low micro-production and micro-processing caps.
- Pre-clearance of security checks instead of waiting until the end of the process.
- Allow craft labelling on cannabis products
- Adjust edible limits
- Increase purchase and possession limits from 30 grams (interim legislative change)
In collaboration with BC, Indigenous governments and sector leaders, develop and fund a made-in-BC cannabis economic development and destination tourism strategy to maximize the BC cannabis industry’s potential and create thousands of legal jobs.
Collaborate with the newly-formed Canadian Cannabis Tourism Alliance (CCTA) to develop a national cannabis destination tourism strategy with provincial and Indigenous agencies.
Allow BC’s network of 6,000 legal medical cannabis farmers to create a safe supply of cannabis for licenced compassion clubs to share with at-risk populations in response to the overdose crisis. Invite these designated medical cannabis farmers to also produce a safe supply of psilocybin (mushrooms) for patients with legal access.