Cannabis enthusiasts in British Columbia will soon be able to buy recreational weed directly from the producer in a long-awaited move allowing “farm-gate” licensing.
The Province of British Columbia has introduced a new cannabis retail licence that will allow eligible, federally licensed cannabis producers to sell non-medical cannabis products from stores located at their cultivation site.
Beginning Nov. 30, applications for the producer retail store (PRS) licence will be open through the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch’s liquor and cannabis licensing portal. All federal standard cultivator, micro-cultivator and nursery licence-holders will be eligible to apply.
Many in the industry have advocated for farm-gate sales for both its tourism benefits and as a way to support the province’s craft cannabis growers.
It its report, Unlocking the Cannabis Industry, the BC Chamber of Commerce said that, “Cannabis farm-gate sales would create new opportunities for agritourism, an important element of B.C.’s farming diversification strategy.”
Pointing to consumers’ passion for locally sourced products and farm experiences, the report drew comparisons to B.C.’s robust wine industry: “Just as the B.C. wine industry draws 1 million visitors and generates $246 million in wine-related tourism every year, cannabis has the potential to attract tourists to growing regions across the province.”
Kootenay Rockies Tourism also partnered with Selkirk College to produce a report earlier this year, Exploring Opportunities for Cannabis Tourism in the Kootenay Rockies, which cited farm-gate indirect delivery programs as one of the opportunities for the cannabis tourism industry in the region.
Created as part of the B.C. government’s commitment to enable farm-to-gate cannabis sales in British Columbia, the PRS licence is intended to support the development of a robust, diverse and sustainable legal cannabis economy that’s inclusive of Indigenous and rural communities, the Province said in a release announcing the change.
“The fourth anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in B.C. is around the corner, and we continue to look for ways to support growth of the legal market while providing safe and accessible options for British Columbians,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The PRS licence is another way we are working to support the success of B.C.-based producers.”
PRS licensees will be eligible to register for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s PRS direct-delivery program under the PRS direct-delivery category – limited to the sale of cannabis produced by the cultivator/nursery to the PRS. This is distinct from the broader direct delivery program, which has size-specific eligibility requirements and allows cannabis sales to any licensed and authorized cannabis retail store in B.C.
The LDB’s direct-delivery program allows federally licensed cannabis nurseries and small-scale producers processing as much as 3,000 kilograms of dried, unpackaged cannabis or its fresh equivalent annually to deliver directly to licensed and authorized cannabis retail stores in B.C.
The direct-delivery program further enables small-scale cultivators to build brand loyalty with licensed cannabis retail stores and their customers by offering their products in local stores rather than spreading the same volume throughout B.C., the Province said.
On May 6, B.C.’s first farm-gate cannabis facility – and the first in Canada on First Nations land – opened in Williams Lake, a result of the government-to-government agreement between the Province and Williams Lake First Nation.