Article by Laura Kane, CTV News
Boissonneault and Gallagher now run a handful of small legal medical grow-ops in British Columbia and are among the “craft” producers who hope to use their skills in the fledgling recreational market by getting a new licence for microcultivation.
But would-be applicants are discovering a major hurdle in their way: obtaining municipal approval and zoning, a key requirement of the licences. Many cities have not established zoning and either aren’t ready or are reluctant to allow microcultivation, growers say.
Small growers say the federal government failed to educate municipalities about the new licences and the need to create zoning to support them. As a result, they say, applications are delayed, the legal supply chain is beset with shortages and the illegal market continues to flourish.
“The spirit (of microcultivation licences) was to get the small growers involved and to get the black market to convert over to the new market,” said James Walsh, president of the BC Micro Licence Association. “In reality we’re just not seeing it.”
Ottawa began accepting applications from microgrowers on Oct. 17, the same day it legalized recreational weed. The licences cover 200 square metres of plant canopy, allowing a premium cannabis producer to make up to $3 million in gross revenue a year, Walsh said.
Health Canada said it has received 23 applications for the licences so far, including five in B.C., five in Alberta, seven in Ontario and six in Quebec.