Big Cannabis Growers Urge Senators To Ban Commercial Outdoor Growing

Article by Duggan, iPolitics

Cannabis Marijuana Industry 20180212. Big cannabis growers urge senators to ban commercial outdoor growing By Kyle Duggan. Workers produce medical marijuana at Canopy Growth Corporation's Tweed facility in Smiths Falls, Ont., on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada’s medical cannabis industry is making a push in the Senate to ban large-scale outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Allan Rewak, the executive director of the Cannabis Canada Council, an industry association that represents licensed producers of medical marijuana, urged senators Wednesday to prohibit large-scale outdoor cultivation in the government’s pot legalization legislation.

He said allowing it presents a “heightened degree of risk for diversion into the illegal market place.” It also raises concerns about the dangers of unintentional exposure to agricultural pesticides and cross-pollination.

Bruce Linton, the head of Canopy Growth Corp., agreed. He said outdoor cultivation “may have a future sometime, but I don’t think it’s today.”

He added it “sidesteps all the benefits” of the current supply chain system.

Under a current Health Canada regulatory proposal, the Liberal government’s cannabis legalization framework would allow licensed pot producers to grow cannabis outdoors. Currently, commercial outdoor production is not allowed.

Earlier this month, New Brunswick’s Health Minister Benoît Bourque made a similar plea to the same Senate committee studying Bill C-45. He shared the same concerns as producers, but also argued that allowing indoor growing could level the economic playing field across Canada.

“We think that indoor cultivation will allow all regions of Canada, including New Brunswick, to benefit from investments in cannabis production facilities,” Bourque told senators studying the legislation. “That way, the benefits will not be limited to regions with a climate that makes outdoor production viable.”

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