The Kootenay United Cannabis Association has been formed to advocate, educate and promote on behalf of the cannabis industry.
“Currently, our primary advocacy concern is for a fair and equitable transition for those who historically participated in building the cannabis industry,” says Jim Leslie, founding member of the association.
On Thursday, April 11, the association will host the Kootenay Cannabis Symposium at the Prestige Inn in Nelson. The goal of the symposium is to capture the voices of stakeholders, to identify the barriers within the application process, and begin mapping potential solutions in moving forward as a united entity. A network of collaborators and supporters will be at the symposium, as will representatives from all three levels of government.
“It is our goal to help public officials and policy makers understand what we need to successfully transition to compliance with the Cannabis Act,” says Leslie.
He says that many pre-existing small and medium sized production facilities are being compromised and threatened due to some of the Health Canada regulations and Canada Revenue Agency processes.
“These small and medium business owners in the Kootenays have created a viable ‘trickle down’ economy in the region, and the cannabis industry has served as a safety net during fluctuations in the resource extraction economy,” Leslie said. “The cannabis industry has played a big part in sustaining families and local businesses for the past 30-plus years.”
Leslie points out that in B.C., only a few dispensaries and one micro producer have been licenced so far. “This isn’t nearly enough to meet the demand, so the ability of medical cannabis users to access their medicine is severely compromised — and it impacts recreational cannabis users, and producers, too,” Leslie said. “The wheels are turning very slowly, and this could hit B.C. hard economically. We’re hoping the B.C. government will stand up for this home-grown industry.”
The association has come up with seven recommendations to the federal government that would assist in bridging the gap between the Cannabis Act regulatory system and the men and women represented by the association.