Craft cannabis growers in B.C. sound alarm over survival of the sector

VANCOUVER _ Craft cannabis growers and sellers in British Columbia want the federal and provincial governments to take immediate steps to protect the future of their businesses ahead of legalization expected this year.

Five groups representing small-scale pot producers delivered an open letter today to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her B.C. counterpart David Eby demanding regulatory changes.

The federal government has signalled it plans to make room for craft cannabis with a proposed micro-cultivation licence, but it hasn’t created an application process.

The groups, including the Craft Cannabis Association of B.C., want the government to urgently create a process so they can obtain licences and begin competing with large licensed producers for provincial supply contracts.

The groups also say a proposed space limit on micro-cultivation is too small and that packaging and labelling restrictions should be loosened so craft cannabis can distinguish itself.

Ian Dawkins of the Cannabis Commerce Association of Canada says federal and provincial plans for legal marijuana will kill B.C.’s community-based craft cannabis.

“If that happens, it will devastate rural economies and take decades to rebuild, so we are asking both levels of government to take action now, before it is too late,” he says in a news release.