Why I don’t support BC Cannabis Stores

Published on January 28, 2021 by Jaimie Miller-Haywood

To date I have not stepped foot inside a BC Cannabis Store, and the likelihood of me ever doing so is grim. I understand there are some good people who work at these shops, but bear with me.

From the beginning, buying weed from a government shop never sat well with me. Yes, I’m beyond grateful that weed is legalized, and industries are SLOWLY cropping, and tax dollars are being collected and re-distributed out into the communities but here’s why I don’t support BC Cannabis Stores.

First, they use millions of taxpayer dollars to open the retail shops. Are they operating at a loss or a gain? (I’ll give you 3 guesses and the first 2 don’t count. Any business EVER generally has to pass the 5 year sink or swim test so that means at least 5 years of losses on average until a profit is reached.)

At distribution (which EVERY product must got through to enter the market) they add a 15% mark-up on the cost of the product on arrival from the Licensed Producer plus a $1/unit federal excise fee.

From there the product heads to private retailers or the BC Cannabis Stores where they get another mark-up. If the BCCS adds the standard 30% mark-up we’re now looking at a 45% mark-up pocketed by the BC gov’t before GST/PST is tacked on.

In the time of COVID it is imperative that the gov’t take a step back and let the private businesses have a shot at this thing. I think we’ve learned that public enterprises in BC ain’t all they cracked up to be (hello ICBC).

“The Province of BC is opening over 200 taxpayer-funded Gov’t BC Cannabis Stores in the next couple of years, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES) has identified that private enterprise has the capacity to serve the adult public by providing access to regulated cannabis. The expansion of the publicly owned network of cannabis stores is unnecessary and wasteful,” according to ACCRES.

If you think the BC NDP should step back the BCCS and let the private market establish itself; not position itself as the fiercest competitor amongst tax paying small businesses, please head over to this petition and leave your mark.

So with my reasons all laid out, what are your thoughts?

Jamie Miller-Haywood is a longtime consumer of cannabis and is exploring legalized cannabis in the Okanagan Valley. She writes about cannabis at Growing Home Okanagan. Follow her on Instagram.

This is republished with permission.