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 police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Chemainus Art Group creates mural mosaic to celebrate a joyful spring. (Photo submitted)
Art group members celebrate a joyful spring in Chemainus

Each of 33 squares pushed together into one mural

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ district administration centre. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district gets started on new budget amid unknowns

Ministry’s per-student funding increase doesn’t fully cover pay raises for teachers and support staff

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Transfer Beach Dippers have been taking to the waters of Transfer Beach as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
‘Transfer Beach Dippers’ group finds community in the cold water

Dippers tend to dip at 6am, 8:45am, or 6pm at Transfer Beach

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read