Wednesday , January 27 2021

The striving of cannabis manufacturers to move into unexpected obstacles

Ian Boanswoo's daughter turned blue.

Without warning, his baby stopped breathing, and he feverishly did CPR while his friend James Gallhear called 911.

Years later, men are still emotional, remembering that day. Boissonneault learned that his daughter had a rare disorder causing epilepsy, and when pharmaceuticals failed to cure seizures, he turned to CBD oil – a non-psychoactive substance in marijuana.

"It's been two years now, and she's had no seizures," said Boiseonneau, who stood beside a row of terrible marijuana plants under shining white lights. "That's what made me take part in this, it's quite personal … The only profit she gives me is the joy of seeing my daughter's smile."

Boissonneault and Gallagher now run a handful of small legal medical plants in British Columbia and are among the "craft" manufacturers hoping to use their skills in the young entertainment market by obtaining a new microculture license.

But potential candidates are finding a serious hurdle on their way: getting municipal approval and zoning, which is a key requirement for licenses. Many cities have not established zoning and either are not ready or willing to allow microculture, say the makers.

Small manufacturers claim that the federal government has failed to train municipalities for new licenses and the need to create zoning to support them. As a result, they say the applications are slowing, the legal supply chain is threatened by shortages and the illicit market continues to flourish.

"The spirit of microculture licenses was to engage small producers and turn the black market into a new market," said James Walsh, president of the BC Micro Licensing Association. – In fact, we just do not see it.

Ottawa began to accept requests from micro-families on October 17, the same day she legalized the weed. Licenses cover a 200 square meter plant cover, allowing the premium cannabis producer to realize up to $ 3 million in gross revenue per year, Walsh said.

But many small producers have not been able to apply for the federal government because they are still waiting for local zoning, he said.

Health Canada said it has received 23 license requests so far, including five in the BC, five in Alberta, seven in Ontario and six in Quebec.

Legalization of cannabis results from more than two years of consultations with all levels of government, and Health Canada has answered many questions from the municipalities and remains available for that, spokeswoman Tammi Jarbo said.

"Health Canada encouraged and supported municipalities to introduce standards and local regulations if needed," she said in a statement.

In August 2017, the federation of Canadian municipalities published a guide on cannabis legalization, providing advice on regulations, zoning, and business practices. The federation stressed the need to respect local authorities during legalization consultations, its website says.

However, small producers say they face bureaucracy in the municipality, and this is particularly bad in BC, despite its reputation as soft marijuana.

Part of the problem is the reserve of agricultural land of BK, the legislation protecting agricultural land from taking over from industry and housing. In July the province introduced a law that allows cities to ban the concrete bases of the Earth Reserve.

There are good reasons for banning the pouring of concrete onto precious farmland, said Richmond Mayor BK. Malcolm Brody.

"You have simply put this construction on farmland, you will never have it for a farm based on the soil," he said.

The city wants only one cannabis facility and there is already one, licensed manufacturer in an industrial area, said Brody. He said that applications in industrial zones would be considered on a case-by-case basis, although he would not guarantee that they would not be approved.

There are already "hundreds and hundreds" of plants in the black market, said a small producer who asked not to be identified due to legal problems. Within a 10-minute drive from his property, it is likely to produce over one million dollars of cannabis per month, he said.

– Do we want to keep growing the weeds and sell them to the back door, or do they want the tax money? he asked. – We will do this on ALR land independently.

Farmers use specific facilities because the soil is more likely to multiply mold, yeast and bacteria, and outdoor farming is impossible due to weather conditions, he added.

In Ontario, some municipalities set up zoning before October 17, while others waited until micro-cultural candidates approached them, said Matthew Columbus, president and founder of the consultancy company, Vijnitsa Cannabis.

"I think Ontario is doing a bit better than BK, but he's not perfect," Columbus said.

The application portal had to be open before the day of legalization, instead the large licensed manufacturers received the first shot on the market, said Ian Dawkins, president of Canadian Canadian Trading Association.

"The big story is justice," he said. "If the big business gets the chance to bid for something and the small businesses are doing it, then it is considered a failed policy.

"But in this huge national project for billions of dollars, where is the same leadership?"

Small medical manufacturers have spent a lot of time and passion in increasing the quality of marijuana, Gallagher said, looking at the thriving growth it shares with Boissonneault.

"We have a lot of knowledge and we want to see what these transitions are," he said. "Can we turn this into business now when it's legal? It's something that has always been in our minds."

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