Co-op launched to support craft B.C. cannabis producers amid product shortages

(Photo: Alexa Mazzarello)

Small B.C. cannabis producers and processors are being invited to join a new co-op that aims to help these products “find their way to consumers across the province, Canada and around the world.”

It comes amid product shortages across the country, following recreational cannabis legalization in Canada last October.

The initiative is being launched by Grow Tech Labs, in partnership with Victory Square Technologies.

It’s being led by CEO Barinder Rasode, who also heads Grow Tech Labs (GTL) and NICHE Canada.

“GTL’s mission is to accelerate the pace that small producers and processors enter the legal marketplace,” said Rasode. “With supply shortages across the country, it is even more important to retain the capacity, experience and knowledge small BC producers and processors have accumulated over decades.”

In a release, GTL says it’s establishing a working group of sector leaders and experienced co-op professionals to “develop a provincial engagement plan, transparent governance structure and application to incorporate a B.C. Small Cannabis Producer and Processor Co-Op within the provincial Co-operative Association Act. The business model will include a retail network in accordance with B.C. regulations.”

Rasode sais B.C. “has a lot to gain by ensuring thousands of existing Health Canada registered growers are active participants in Canada’s cannabis economy. With their combined capacity, these small B.C. producers and processors could become one of the largest cannabis enterprises in Canada.”

A GTL release notes that in addition to being Canada’s traditional cannabis capital, B.C. is home to one of the country’s most vibrant co-operative movements, with 2 million members, 700 co-op businesses and almost $50 billion in assets. GTL says it has been exploring the feasibility of developing a cannabis co-op with the BC Cooperative Association and will expand this collaboration to include other provincial, federal and municipal agencies.

“We want 2019 to be the year of small cannabis producers and processors in BC,” Rasode remarked. “GTL is inviting these innovators to be part of a new economy and make a lasting contribution to our society instead of retiring, finding a new line of work or joining the black market.”

Shafin Diamond, Co-Founder of GTL and CEO of Victory Square Technologies, said the two organizations are “excited to see micro-growers participate in this co-operative. It’s going to be an exciting year for small producers and we look forward to supporting the craft cannabis market in British Columbia.”

British Columbians are invited to participate in this process by contacting the Co-Op Accelerator directly at [email protected]. All communication is confidential. Participants are not required to disclose their address or pay any fees to become involved in the co-op’s development phase.

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