Grow, Gift, Repair

Craft Cannabis growers in Canada fighting for their market

Joel Podersky-Cannon is a long-time craft cannabis advocate looking to establish an operation on the Sunshine Coast. He shares Alice’s concern that a large number of craft growers will be forced out the market, and he argues that the approach being taken by the provincial and federal governments tilts the playing field in favour of large LPs established under the current Health Canada regime.

“There’s an effort to create a false perception that there’s a positive aspect [to the new regulations], but in fact there’s not,” Podersky-Cannon told Coast Reporter. “The first thing they should have done is allowed craft growers to participate directly in the marketplace… They should have done what they could to create conditions where an oligopoly is unlikely to form, and what they’ve done is created conditions where an oligopoly is not only very likely to form, but will inevitably form.”

Podersky-Cannon is working on several initiatives to change the structure of the legal cannabis market to make the development of a craft industry easier, including drafting a model set of standards and regulations “to demonstrate to the government that we are capable of self-regulating” and approaching the Sunshine Coast Regional District with ideas about local bylaws.

Podersky-Cannon also said his advocacy work has led him to believe the language being used by governments has played a role in sidelining craft producers, by putting too much emphasis on the role of organized crime in the current black market.

It was something the Craft Cannabis Association of BC tried to address when Podersky-Cannon was with the organization.

“One of our main points in that was we are not organized crime… To paint the picture in the media that all people that grow cannabis outside the commercial regulated system as somehow part of organized crime is completely false… It’s one of the things I feel is still being put out there to the public as a justification for strict regulations.”