B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

A cannabis plant. (From Kelowna Capital News)

The B.C. government says it will launch three cannabis programs over the next two years to help small and Indigenous growers compete with larger rivals.

A farm-gate program would allow growers to sell their products at stores located at their production sites.

“We’ve heard clearly how important these kinds of sales are for smaller cannabis producers trying to get a foothold in a market currently dominated by larger players,” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in a news release.

“Now more than ever, our government is committed to supporting B.C. businesses and encouraging people to buy local, and that includes creating conditions for cannabis businesses of all sizes to succeed.”

Another program would allow small cannabis producers, licensed by Health Canada, to deliver cannabis directly to authorized retailers.

The government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy.

Both programs are expected to launch in 2022.

The provice will also launch an Indigenous Shelf Space Program, estimated to start in 2021. The program will highlight cannabis products produced by B.C. Indigenous producers in BC Cannabis Stores, helping consumers easily identify those products and make purchasing decisions.

The province says the changes were prompted by suggestions from growers, Indigenous leaders and other stakeholders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.