A cannabis industry group is appealing to Canada’s federal government for immediate intervention to help stave off challenges facing the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Mary Ng, federal minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Cannabis Council of Canada CEO George Smitherman expressed concern that policies of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have not applied to the regulated cannabis sector.
“This concern has been significantly exacerbated in light of BDC emerging as the central support for Canada’s small- and-medium-sized businesses, as indicated by the $10 billion stimulus package announced last week,” he wrote.
The publication Inside the Jar reported in February that the BDC is not offering its services to cannabis businesses.
Smitherman wrote that the industry faces “the increasingly likely scenario” that regulated marijuana businesses could experience permanent shutdowns, bankruptcies and significant job loss.
“We respectfully ask for your immediate intervention in your capacity as the Minister responsible for the BDC to expand industry criteria to provide appropriate recognition and much-needed supports for our sector,” the letter stated.
In a brief statement to Marijuana Business Daily, the BDC did not address why it has been excluding legal marijuana businesses from its programs.
“We are evaluating the situation as it evolves, including the needs of entrepreneurs and the impact on specific industries,” according to the statement.