Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C—Without a significant change in approach by the federal government, British Columbia’s globally recognized craft cannabis sector will not survive legalization. This is the key conclusion of a discussion paper released today by Grow Tech Labs that captures the results of a just-completed province-wide consultation to establish a co-operative of small BC Cannabis Producers and Processors.

“Everyone agrees the inclusion of small cannabis producers is vital to the success of the legalization policy but barely a handful have survived the application process,” says Barinder Rasode, CEO of Grow Tech Labs. “This needs to change or BC will lose its competitive cannabis advantage. Without federal leadership, we are just blowing smoke when it comes to establishing a diverse marketplace and supporting the economies of BC rural communities.”

The discussion paper “Establishing a Craft Cannabis Co-Op for BC Producers, Processors and Retailers” notes there have been only “a trickle of applications” from the 5,000 – 6,000 small medical producers in BC, discouraged by very low production caps, significant up-front investment requirements, consulting fees, non-specific criteria, lack of municipal engagement and financing options. The report includes recommendations for the federal and provincial governments.

In addition to identifying these advocacy priorities for discussion, the consultation report includes a governance framework and next steps to incorporate a craft cannabis co-op that delivers a sustainable alternative to the black market, maintains BC’s position as an international marketplace leader and ensures medical and recreational consumers across Canada and the globe have access to the highest quality BC cannabis possible.

A series of regional meetings will be announced later this month to review these proposals and the draft articles of incorporation for the co-op for small producers, processors and independent retailers.

In February 2019, Grow Tech Labs and the Cascadia Agricultural Cooperative Association invited British Columbians to participate in a consultation process to review the concept, learn more about co-ops, provide feedback and answer questions. Over six weeks, 10 community meetings were organized with hundreds of sector leaders attending and providing feedback online.