The inaugural B.C. Cannabis Summit wrapped up its three-day event on Saturday with a roundtable discussion aimed at bettering the future of the cannabis industry for both the seller and the consumer.
The main topics discussed by industry professionals at the event included the taxing of cannabis, current policy issues, and how starting a "farmgate" could help boost the economy in a post-pandemic world.
“It’s essentially the same thing you would have at an orchard where a person can come pick up some apples, pick up some pears, pick up some peaches,” said Irwin Chahal, owner of South Okanagan Cannabis.
“So, if we’re a cannabis farm, consumers would be able to come see how the cannabis is grown, who grew the cannabis, and ask any questions they may have, and to be able to purchase cannabis directly from the grower.”
The secretary of the B.C. Craft Farms Co-op, David Hurford, believes a move like this would immediately rejuvenate the tourism industry while also tapping into a brand-new revenue stream that would help reboot the economy.
“We think it’s a no-brainer and our concern is that we are not moving fast enough; we are falling behind… B.C. has a major international brand for cannabis and we don’t want to lose that advantage. We can’t take it for granted, we have to work for it … this could create thousands of jobs very quickly,” said Hurford.
The Growers Association for Cannabis and different associations across Canada are hoping the government will take the time to listen to their "farmgate" proposal to see the true value in it, as they believe it can be used as one of Canada’s most powerful tools in terms of creating business.
“The Cannabis Act is what is really holding craft farmers back … the [government] didn’t consult the experts in terms of drafting it. We’ve proposed a number of improvements to that," Hurford said. "We are suggesting that it not be led by Health Canada.”
The Cannabis Act is up for review later this year, and cannabis industry experts are confident things will move forward in the right direction not only for buyers and consumers, but for the province as a whole.