Non-medical cannabis sales from stores located on their cultivation sites are now on the table.
The province introduced a new cannabis retail licence to allow eligible federally licensed cannabis producers to sell non-medical cannabis products from “farm-to-gate.”
The move was welcomed cautiously by some in the local cannabis cultivation industry, with the hope the licence will allow Kootenay cannabis to flourish once again.
“The farm-to-gate licence could help us bypass the high cost of provincial distribution and instead allow direct cannabis sales and supply (DSS),” said one retailer who wished to not be identified.
“That would enable farmers and retailers an opportunity to set their own prices and make our Kootenay cannabis available right here.”
The producer retail store (PRS) licence comes into effect on Nov. 30, with applications available through the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch’s (LCRB) liquor and cannabis licensing portal. All federal standard cultivator, micro-cultivator and nursery licence-holders will be eligible to apply.
The farm-to-gate sales had been promised by the province since cannabis was legalized in B.C., with industry retailers and producers asking for the right to create a sustainable and local legal cannabis economy.
The fourth anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in B.C. is near, said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the legalization process is ever changing.
“The PRS licence is another way we are working to support the success of B.C.-based producers,” he said in a press release.
PRS licensees will be eligible to register for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s (LDB) PRS direct-delivery program under the PRS direct-delivery category.
“PRS direct delivery is limited to the sale of cannabis produced by the cultivator/nursery to the PRS. It is distinct from the broader direct delivery program, which has size-specific eligibility requirements and enables the sale of cannabis to any licensed and authorized cannabis retail store in B.C.” noted a provincial press release on the matter.
Enabling and beyond
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 the province.
The legal cannabis production sector has also grown each year since legalization. As of August 2022, B.C. had 212 federally licensed cannabis producers, 74 of which are micro-producers, as well as 34 public cannabis stores and 441 licences issued for private cannabis retail stores.
Six First Nations have signed s.119 agreements, including Williams Lake First Nation, which was B.C.’s first production facility to sell directly to customers.
As of Sept. 28, 2022, there are 350 direct delivery products available from 47 cultivators and 26 processors registered in the program.
Source: Province of B.C.