Article by Laura Kane, CTV News
Jessika Villano sells a potent array of dried cannabis, oils, salves and even bud-infused bath bombs at Buddha Barn Medicinal Society — all grown and processed by small-scale British Columbia producers.
Villano doesn’t want that to change when marijuana is legalized later this year, and she’s among the proponents of local craft cannabis who are pushing the federal and provincial governments to ensure its survival.
“I believe in our sector,” Villano said. “Our elected representatives need to take immediate steps to protect it or face the consequences of letting B.C. craft cannabis collapse.”
Five groups representing small pot growers and sellers delivered an open letter on Friday to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her B.C. counterpart David Eby. The letter urges immediate action from both ministers ahead of legalization.
The federal government has signalled it will make room for craft cannabis in the recreational industry. It has proposed a micro-cultivation licence for growers whose crops cover less than 200 square metres, but it hasn’t created an application process.
The groups want the government to urgently establish a process so they can obtain licences and bid for provincial contracts to supply legal cannabis. Currently, large companies that already hold Health Canada licences to grow medical cannabis are exclusively signing those contracts, the groups say.
“It’s like starting the race 10 seconds late,” said Roxanne Judson, a small-scale grower and a member of the Ethical Cannabis Producers Alliance, one of the groups behind the letter.