Barriers to entry have left some of the world’s best cannabis growers trapped in the unregulated market, said David Robinson, a director of the Craft Cannabis Association of B.C.
“B.C. played a major role in popularizing high-end cannabis throughout the world,” he said. “Licensed producers grow about 15 per cent of the cannabis consumed in Canada, and that means that grey and black market producers own the actual market.”
“Most of product that (licensed producers) are selling isn’t something an educated consumer would buy,” said Robinson, author of The Grower’s Handbook.
The regulatory regime governing legal recreational cannabis tends to favour large corporations over small-scale growers, he said.
“They created the micro licence we asked for with the intention of letting the little guys in, which is fine if you have $2 million,” he said.
Companies like Pasha Brands have sprung up to help quality prohibition-era brands find a way into the mainstream market with processing, lab services and a pipeline to licensed producers with access to the legal marketplace.
Grow Tech is organizing a co-op so small producers in B.C. can pool their resources and bring more product to market with economies of scale.