The British Columbia government announced today that they will allow “small-scale producers”, including nurseries, the option of delivering cannabis directly to licensed retailers, as well as farm-gate sales, in the coming years.
The provincial government says the decision came from recommendations from long-time cannabis growers, Indigenous leaders and other stakeholders, and is one more step towards allowing for so-called “farm-gate” sales, which the Province also says it continues to work towards. The “targeted launch” for both programs is 2022.
How they are defining “small scale” producers is unknown. Federal regulations require that licence holders selling into a provincial retail system must have a processing licence, as well as product sales licences.
I think it’s fantastic they have made this decision,” says Dunn. “It sounds like they are really incentivizing small scale, micro cultivators to join the market and get their products out and make a name for themselves.Logan Dunn, Dunn Cannabis
“We’ve heard clearly how important these kinds of sales are for smaller cannabis producers trying to get a foothold in a market currently dominated by larger players,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Now more than ever, our government is committed to supporting BC businesses and encouraging people to buy local, and that includes creating conditions for cannabis businesses of all sizes to succeed.”
The Ministry of Attorney General’s Liquor Distribution Branch will also launch an Indigenous Shelf Space Program, estimated to start in 2021. The program will highlight cannabis products produced by BC Indigenous producers in BC Cannabis Stores.
“These steps will help grow the legal cannabis industry in BC in an inclusive way,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “By making it easier to know more about the product, those who choose to use cannabis can make careful decisions about what types of product they want to buy and what sectors of the industry they want to support.”
Highlighted products will be available at private BC cannabis retail locations, as well as through the BC Cannabis Stores online site.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government and BC Government provided grant money to one First Nations-run applicant seeking to build their own micro cannabis facility with the potential for farm-gate sales. The Williams Lake Indian Band broke ground earlier this year and estimates it will be completed in 2021.
Logan Dunn, of Dunn Cannabis – a micro cultivator in Abbotsford, BC – says the announcement is a big step forward that he thinks will give more confidence and guidance not only to licence holders like himself looking to sell through a farm-gate program, but others who are still on the fence when it comes to getting a licence.
“I think it’s fantastic they have made this decision,” says Dunn. “It sounds like they are really incentivizing small scale, micro cultivators to join the market and get their products out and make a name for themselves.”
Dunn says he still has questions though, which he hopes the government will address soon.
“It would be great to see it in place a little sooner, but knowing it’s on its way is a great opportunity so we can plan for this ability to deliver products, build infrastructure, whether it be your delivery system or your storefront on-site, so that’s great. I do have questions about how they would like to see it delivered and what the compliance requirements will be. It would be nice if they could give us some guidelines, but it’s exciting that we’re heading in the right direction.”
“The OCS is ready to onboard any farm-gate store as soon as the licensed producer is ready and has received the appropriate regulatory approvals from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Daffyd Roderick, Director of Communications at the OCS recently told StratCann.
The BC government has largely not delivered for British Columbia’s local cannabis industry following legalization. This is clearly an attempt to shore up the cannabis vote right before a potential early election.Alex Shiff, a public affairs consultant at Navigator who has worked for several cannabis industry stakeholders
With speculation that the BC NDP intend to call an election soon, one consultant with experience in the cannabis space says the announcement, released on a Sunday afternoon, is likely intended to prepare the industry for that coming election.
“The BC government has largely not delivered for British Columbia’s local cannabis industry following legalization, says Alex Shiff, a public affairs consultant at Navigator who has worked for several cannabis industry stakeholders. “This is clearly an attempt to shore up the cannabis vote right before a potential early election.”
The BC Government is losing one minister connected to the cannabis file. Michelle Mungall, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness says she will not be seeking re-election. Minister Mungall, the MLA for MLA for Nelson-Creston region, has been a strong advocate for BC’s cannabis industry. It had been rumoured recently that Mungall would be taking over the cannabis file in BC, although her office denied the rumour.
Cannabis advocate Brittany Anderson is said to be seeking the NDP’s nomination to run in the riding in the next election. Anderson is the co-Founder of the Cannabis Conservancy, that advocates for a sustainable cannabis industry.