The Planning Committee of this year’s BC Cannabis Summit, put on by the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES) and the BC Craft Farmers Co-Op (BCCFC), conducted a vote on 11 policy proposals and prioritized seven of those proposals. The final seven will be passed on for federal and provincial governments to address the current regulatory barriers preventing BC’s craft cannabis farmers, processors, nurseries, and retailers from realizing their full potential in a legal market.
The Prioritized Policy Solutions
The results of the vote announced at the Summit’s closing ceremony on April 22, in Kelowna, identified the seven priority policy solutions to inform and guide the federal and provincial governments moving forward:
1. The Cannabis Act review
2. Medical cannabis access
3. BC direct sales policy
4. Cannabis stigma and expungement of records
5. Federal cannabis licensing – production and processing
6. Cannabis as an agriculture activity
7. Canada/BC job creation and economic development partnership
1. Cannabis Act Review
The delegates resolved that the review be done by an all-party Committee of the House of Commons and that BC craft farmers, processors, and independent retailers are included in the drafting of revisions to the Act.
Through the Minister of Health, they would like to initiate a series of immediate changes to the Act in advance of the pending review, including:
- Doubling of the unreasonably low micro-production and micro-processing caps
- Shifting the security clearance process to the start of the licensing process and prior to any significant investments are required
- Pre-clearance of security checks instead of waiting until the end of the process
- Increase purchase and procession limits from 30 grams
- Allow organic and craft certification labelling on cannabis products
2. Medical Cannabis Access
Delegates would like to see the BC government provide healthcare benefits and access to medical cannabis to opiate addicts and those suffering from chronic diseases. Furthermore, those who voted want the National Centre of Excellence for Cannabis Health Research in BC to receive funding from the Canadian government for the study of genomic analysis of cannabis strains and their unique effects, harm reduction, and inebriation detection among other things.
3. BC Direct Sales Policy
The delegates want the BC government to collaborate with the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES), BC Craft Farmers Co-Op (BCCFC) and the Kootenay Cannabis Development Council. The aim is to build the sector’s capacity to fully implement and support the proposed direct sales policy over the coming year. They would also like to see the elimination of the 15% handling fee for cannabis sold directly from farmers and processors to BC retailers.
4. Cannabis Stigma and Expungement of Records
On the matter of cannabis stigma and expungement of records delegates are keen to see the government introduce legislation to allow a person who has been convicted of cannabis possession to have their record expunged.
Additionally, delegates want the government to work with social media and digital platforms to give legal and licensed producers, retailers, and authorized cannabis industry professionals permission to post content and discuss cannabis in an educational manner on their platforms.
5. Production and Processing Licensing
Delegates resolved that if Health Canada continues to approve craft cannabis production licenses at the current rate, jurisdiction should be transferred to an agency mandated to support the industry. They would like to see Indigenous and provincial governments be given consideration to take over responsibility for licensing cannabis production and processing within their jurisdictions and receive a more significant share of the tax revenue.
6. Cannabis as an Agriculture Activity
The group wants the relevant provincial and federal government agencies to recognize cannabis as a legitimate and legal farm activity and product so land use options and tax status would be like similar to those of a farmer.
7. Canada/BC Job Creation and Economic Development Partnership
Delegates resolved that the governments of Canada and BC invest in the establishment of a BC Craft Cannabis Economic Development and Job Creation partnership in collaboration with Indigenous governments, municipal and regional authorities, sector associations, colleges, universities, and community organizations to provide training, support women and Indigenous entrepreneurs, apply ag-tech solutions and develop an export strategy along with a BC cannabis brand.
Aside from the Summit’s policy development process, the BC Craft Farmers Co-op has launched a provincial consultation regarding the BC government’s proposed farm gate and on-site consumption proposals. For more information contact email@example.com.