Cannabis co-op planning group holds July 8 meeting in Gibsons

By Sean Eckford, Coast Reporter

A group working to create a co-op that would enable the province’s small-scale cannabis growers to get into the legal market for recreational cannabis is looking for input on how such a co-op would work.

The BC Small Cannabis Producers and Processors (BCSCPP) and Grow Tech Labs will start the second phase of its consultations with the craft growers in a meeting July 8 in Gibsons.

The goal is “to finalize the incorporation of a BC craft cannabis co-op for small producers, processors and independent retailers.”

Grow Tech chief executive officer Barinder Rasode said in a release announcing the next round of consultations, “We have an exciting opportunity now to engage B.C.’s small producers, processors and independent retailers about the co-op’s membership rules and categories, Board structure and investment priorities to serve their needs and interests."

In the lead-up to the next phase of the consultations, the group has released an economic impact analysis.

It claims the craft cannabis industry could create tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in B.C. and Western Canada and “help achieve widely shared public safety goals related to organized crime.”

“Good government policy can reduce the illicit market and create a vibrant craft cannabis industry that will be an economic success story for rural communities in B.C. and across Canada,” Rasode said. “Unfortunately, without a significant change in approach by the federal government, the sector will not survive legalization.”

The BCSCPP analysis concludes that transforming as few as 15 per cent of the small growers currently operating under medical cannabis rules would result in as much as $3 billion in direct economic benefits.

If the federal government increased the limits on micro-production and processing, it would nearly double the potential economic impact, according to the analysis.

A 2016 study prepared for the Gibsons Chamber of Commerce estimated that there were as many as 600 small-scale producers on the Sunshine Coast growing for clients with medical cannabis certificates and for the so-called “grey market.”

The BCSCPP’s Gibsons meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 8 at Gibsons Public Market. The group is asking people interested in attending to pre-register at www.bcscpp.com/events.

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