Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC (April 20, 2020) – Today, the BC Craft Farmer Co-Op (BCCFC) announced the Province of British Columbia has approved their incorporation application. The Co-Op will begin operations in May and will submit an economic development proposal to federal and provincial governments this month. The proposal will outline how the Co-Op can support BC’s economic recovery post-COVID 19 by creating thousands of jobs and diverting profits from the illicit market.
Governed by the BC Cooperatives Act and comprised of micro-cannabis cultivators, processors and independent retailers from across the province, the BCCFC has been established to:
provide BC micro-cultivators and processors with a safe, accessible and sustainable alternative to the illicit market;
help maintain BC’s top position as an international cannabis leader and innovator; and,
provide medical and recreational cannabis consumers across BC, Canada and around the world with the highest quality cannabis.
BCCFC’s economic development proposal will reflect priorities identified during last year’s provincial consultation process, and the results of a June 2019 Economic Impact Assessment which confirmed a properly legalized BC craft cannabis sector can create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs across the province over the next 12-18 months.
Thousands of small BC cannabis farmers and processors have been excluded from the new legal marketplace due to a poorly designed regulatory framework. With a globally recognized brand and the most craft cannabis farmers in the country, BC’s economy has the most to lose if these innovators are not provided with a chance to fully apply their skills, network and experience in the new marketplace.
Recognizing the minimal number of small producers and processors applying for licenses, Canada invited the sector to provide constructive solutions that will increase the up-take of micro-class licences, address regulatory barriers and sustain the transition for thousands of BC craft cannabis cultivators and processors over the coming years. BCCFC is responding to this request and recently announced government programs related to small business and regional economic development.
BCCFC governance and investment rules approved by the provincial government are available at www.bccraftfarmerscoop.com. BCCFC has also created a Code of Conduct to establish a reliable standard of ethics community partners can rely on in their interactions with the Co-Op.
Contact: Natasha Kumari – 604.916.8593
BACKGROUNDER: BC CRAFT FARMERS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL GOALS
The BC Craft Farmers Co-Op (BCCFC) has assembled a team of sector leaders and professionals to develop constructive solutions for consideration by federal/provincial governments in response to the economic crisis created by the COVID 19 pandemic and achieve the original goals of the Cannabis Act.
This month, BCCFC will submit a proposal to the federal and provincial government that will:
Rapidly transition thousands of BC’s internationally recognized medicinal craft farmers and processors to the legal recreation cannabis market.
Create thousands of sustainable jobs in all regions of BC.
Divert profit from the illicit market.
Promote public health and effective product safety testing.
Leverage BC’s craft cannabis sector as a platform to achieve shared public goals related to innovation, environmental stewardship, diversity, food security, economic development, small-and-medium-sized business, regenerative farming, sustainable agriculture and employment training.
Deliver the highest quality craft cannabis to medical and recreational consumers in BC, Canada and around the world.
Effectively engage community leaders, federal, provincial, Indigenous and municipal governments to support community economic and social development.
Foster public health research collaborations with BC universities, colleges and other organizations.
Secure access to investment capital and government support available to other sectors – including the just-announced federal program for SMEs and regional economic development.
Advance international co-op principles and business model.
Transforming just 30% of BC’s 6,500 small licensed cannabis growers into the recreational marketplace with the current production and processing limits will result in close to $3B in direct economic impact and over 20,000 jobs across BC. Modest increases to the current limits will nearly double these benefits.
These two scenarios, with conservative assumptions, would yield additional taxes for all levels of governments of $400M and $800M respectively. With on-going liberalization efforts world-wide, BC’s craft cannabis sector will be well-placed to leverage its position as a premier producer to build a large cannabis export industry.
While BC can become a world-leader for high-end cannabis, with other countries and many US states liberalizing their cannabis regulations, the race will soon be on for capturing the premium market.
All levels of government have an opportunity to collaborate collectively with BC’s globally recognized craft cannabis sector to create thousands of jobs for the economic recovery from COVID-19, while diverting millions of dollars from the illicit market to vital community services when we need it the most.
See www.bccraftfarmerscoop.com for a complete economic impact analysis completed in June 2019.