You are invited to help establish a BC Co-Op for Small Cannabis Producers, Processors and Retailers

Starting February 2019, Grow Tech Labs invited small producers and processors across BC to review the proposed co-op concept, learn more about co-ops, provide feedback and answer questions. Over six weeks, 10 community meetings were organized with hundreds of sector leaders attending and providing feedback online.

The feedback from the community consultation has been consolidated into a discussion paper that includes a series of recommendations that have been developed to accelerate the participation of small producers and processors in the legal new marketplace.


Invitation for small BC cannabis producers and processors to participate in a provincial consultation process to help shape the provincial co-op, participate in Canada’s legal marketplace and ensure BC cannabis products find their way to consumers across the province, Canada and around the world. 

Grow Tech Labs (GTL) Cannabis Business Accelerator, in partnership with Victory Square Technologies (CSE:VST,) is inviting small BC cannabis producers and processors to participate in a provincial consultation process to help shape the provincial co-op, participate in Canada’s legal marketplace and ensure BC cannabis products find their way to consumers across the province, Canada and around the world. 


GTL is establishing a working group of sector leaders and experienced co-op professionals to develop a provincial engagement plan, transparent governance structure and application to incorporate a BC Small Cannabis Producer and Processor Co-Op within the provincial Co-operative Association Act. The business model will include a retail network in accordance with BC regulations.


In addition to being Canada’s traditional cannabis capital, BC is home to one of the country’s most vibrant co-operative movements, with 2 million members, 700 co-op businesses and almost $50 billion in assets. GTL has been exploring the feasibility of developing a cannabis co-op with the BC Cooperative Association and will expand this collaboration to include other provincial, federal and municipal agencies.

BC has a lot to gain by ensuring thousands of existing Health Canada registered growers are active participants in Canada’s cannabis economy. With their combined capacity these small BC producers and processors could become one of the largest cannabis enterprises in Canada.
— Barinder Rasode, CEO of Grow Tech Labs

Canada’s Cannabis Act outlines a regulatory approach that allows for a range of production and processing activities within a competitive industry comprised of large and small players in all regions of Canada. Despite this commitment, most small and medium-sized BC producers and processors (SMPs) have been ignored by regulators.

BC has the most to lose if these entrepreneurs and innovators are not provided with an equal opportunity.

5,000-6,000 small producers designated by Health Canada to produce medical cannabis have not been encouraged to participate in the new marketplace. Regulatory roadblocks have included 2,100 sq. ft. production limit, non-specific security clearance criteria and lack of municipal engagement and awareness. Meanwhile, licensing for large producers (LPs), disproportionately in Ontario, has accelerated. Provinces have completed high-volume supply agreements with most of them. The result is a supply shortage that keeps prices high for consumers, maintains demand for black market product, creates public confusion and undermines confidence in government authorities.

As the province with the most SMPs, BC has the most to lose if these entrepreneurs and innovators are not provided with an equal opportunity to apply their valuable skills, network and experience. The result would be a failure to realize our common goal of establishing a diverse marketplace for consumers where small and large enterprises can thrive.


Proposed Mission

Help maintain BC’s top position as an international cannabis leader and innovator.

Provide BC’s small and medium-sized producers and processors with a safe, accessible and sustainable alternative to the black market.

Provide medical and recreational cannabis consumers around the world with the highest quality BC cannabis possible.

 

Proposed BC Cannabis Co-Op Activities

  • Develop a governance framework that supports the establishment of diverse, local BC SMP co-ops

  • Collaborate with investors, BC credit unions and other financial institutions to develop financing options for members

  • Pool purchasing power of members for essential services (human resources; product testing; distribution; quality control; legal, accounting and financial services; public affairs).

  • Collaborate with existing co-ops; colleges and universities; business, innovation and community associations; and government agencies (BC Hydro, economic development, municipalities, police and fire departments, etc.).

  • Facilitate special events, sector meetings and communication hub to provide project updates and respond to challenges and opportunities with regulatory processes.

  • Develop policies and proposals to improve provincial, federal and local regulatory frameworks.

  • Collaborate with all levels of government to achieve shared goals of public health, diversity, job creation, transition away from black market and sustainability.

  • Develop a communication and stakeholder engagement plan that builds on early stage outreach by sector associations and government. 

  • Organize first annual meeting and support establishment of co-op Board of Directors.

Proposed Goals

Adopt international co-op values and principles.

Accelerate the participation of BC SMPs in Canada’s legal marketplace, particularly in rural communities.

Establish a retail network for SMPs to ensure their products reach consumers in BC, across Canada and around the world.

Achieve sustainable economies of scale to ensure SMPs can compete with large producers in the domestic and global marketplace.

Address government supply needs and ensure a wide variety of product choice for consumers.

Create a platform welcoming to small and medium sized BC enterprises interested in the legal marketplace for cannabis edibles and derivatives in 2019.

Foster a culture of collective innovation that promotes quality, diversity and corporate social responsibility.

 

Proposed BC Cannabis Co-Op Membership

  • 5,000-6,000 small BC cannabis producers already designated by Health Canada to produce medical cannabis

  • BC residents who have expressed an interest in becoming a SMP, outdoor producer or nursery operator under Health Canada’s proposed regulatory framework

  • Independent BC retail applicants interested in selling BC SMP products

    Individuals and small BC enterprises interested in manufacturer of cannabis edibles, derivatives and topicals

  • Sector vendors

  • Founding members

  • Legal BC cannabis consumers

  • Members of other Co-Ops


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BC had one of the most vibrant co-op communities in Canada, with 2 million members, 700 businesses and close to $50 billion in total assets.

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Nearly twice as many BC co-ops remain in operation after 5 years compared to other forms of enterprise.

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Co-ops create jobs at nearly 5 times the rate of the overall economy and are more accountable than publicly traded corporations.