Ideas abound at first farmgate cannabis roundtable
Published on April 27, 2022 by John McDonald
What’s the hold-up, the farmers were asking during the first farmgate roundtable into onsite consumption and cannabis-based agritourism hosted by the BC Craft Farmers Co-op.
Roundtable moderator David Hurford said Sunday’s meeting in East Kelowna brought together over 30 micro-licensed cannabis farmers and other industry insiders for the first of many such meetings planned for around the province in coming weeks.
Most in attendance were bubbling over with ideas they’ve had a chance to refine for quite some time, Hurford said.
“The province announced this a year and a half ago and and now we’re just starting to talk about it,” he added. “You heard them. It’s long overdue.”
BC Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth earlier this month launched a province-wide public consultation into how so-called “cannabis consumption spaces” could be incorporated into public locations like cafes, lounges, concerts and spas.
However, Farnsworth and the Ministry of Public Safety have already ruled out any form of indoor smoking or vaping, leaving only edibles and drinkable cannabis under official consideration for indoor service.
But Hurford said open air consumption areas without staff service is just one possible compromise for people who want to smoke cannabis. “That’s how people have done it for years. We’re all adults, surely we can work something out,” he added.
He calls on-site consumption a “no-brainer” that will attract tourists to a part of the world that already has the infrastructure in place. “This region, this province was built to receive tourists.”
Hurford said his group is not advocating for any kind of weakening of anti-smoking or worker safety rules.
“That’s simply not on the table,” he added. “But I’m confident we can overcome all the other regulatory hurdles. It’s a legal product. We do it for other industries like alcohol and have been doing this for years.”
Plans are to blitz the government with ideas, but Hurford still fears the government is not acting quickly enough and is out of synch with the public.
“The government does not have the vision for cannabis that they need to have. The public is way out ahead on this, they see the opportunities,” he said. “There’s still a stigma and it’s from within government. This is still regulated by the police, the solicitor general and Health Canada. Why should cannabis be singled out the way it is?”
One round table participant Justin Smith, of 420 Consulting, said he sees multiple opportunities if the government allows onsite cannabis consumption.
He said his Victoria-based companies would like to use cannabis medicinally in a full-service clinical setting to help with mental health and addictions.
More information on cannabis consumption spaces, the engagement process and a link to the engagement survey can be found at: engage.gov.bc.ca/cannabisconsumptionspaces.