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

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

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in South Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Jason Noble and his longtime partner Marilyn Martin (Photo submitted)
ROTARY MONTH: Camaraderie, helping others fuels Rotary Club of Williams Lake Daybreak

For the past year-and-a-half Martin has served as the club’s secretary; Noble as president

Rotary Club of Williams Lake members, including president Mike Austin (second from left), cook up breakfasts during a Stampede breakfast this past summer. (Photo submitted)
ROTARY MONTH: Rotary Club of Williams Lake looking to get back to business

While COVID-19 made most of 2020 and the start of the new… Continue reading

Tribune columnist Jim Hilton captured this photo of the forest floor during a hike in the Helmken Falls area at Wells Gray Provinicial Park. (Jim Hilton photo)
FOREST INK: Forests and its connection to human health, part one

Urbanization and modern lifestyle have diminished possibilities for human contact with nature

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read