The executive director of an umbrella group representing about three dozen farmers’ markets in Nova Scotia says craft cannabis should be allowed to be sold at market booths.
“The farmers’ market could be the perfect place for that type of product to be sold in a safe and controlled environment,” said Justin Cantafio, executive director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia.
He was responding to a CBC story about the challenges facing cannabis micro-cultivators who have a Health Canada licence to grow their product, but not to process and sell it directly to consumers.
Cantafio’s non-profit group represents close to 40 farmers’ markets provincewide, with over 1,500 vendors. He said farmers with cannabis micro-cultivation licences have expressed support for the idea of selling at markets.
“We’ve heard from some of the folks who sell at our farmers’ markets that they are interested in using their micro-licences to sell the cannabis that they grow to people who are willing to pay a fair price for their product,” Cantafio said.
One issue faced by licensed micro-growers is the low price they are being offered by licensed processors. Under the current rules, a micro-cultivator may only sell to individuals or companies that hold a higher level of Health Canada licence. These licensed processors are the only ones allowed to test and package.
Some micro-growers in Nova Scotia are being offered as little as 20 cents a gram, dramatically lower than what cannabis is selling for in Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores.
“There aren’t any avenues right now in this province for folks with micro-licences to actually direct-market their products and get a fair market value for what it is they’re growing,” Cantafio said.
“The only opportunity now is wholesale. You end up getting significantly less for the product. It makes it significantly less viable. It really isn’t an economically viable crop.”
Cantafio calls it a missed opportunity.