Co-operatives appearing in legal cannabis market
Some craft cannabis producers say the process for entering the legal market is too costly and complex, but others are looking to a familiar model from the agricultural world as a solution.
Cannabis co-operatives have begun to form in British Columbia that could see several small producers share resources, including processing facilities, nurseries or legal and accounting support.
Among them are the Cascadia Agricultural Co-operative Association on the Sunshine Coast and the Kootenay Outdoor Producers Co-op, which plan to share nursery and processing space and grow in so-called community gardens.
Rielle Capler, a researcher with the B-C Centre on Substance Use, says the co-op model has proven robust in the agricultural world so it could work well for cannabis.
She says while some governments like Uruguay and Massachusetts formally recognize co-operatives in their marijuana laws and allows multiple producers to share a single licence, Canada's regulations don't necessarily preclude it from happening.
Capler says some big businesses are buying up small producers but the co-op model could be a way for cannabis farmers to remain independent within the structure.