On Thursday January 19, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) will be presenting to the legacy cannabis industry of Vancouver and the Gulf Islands at the Victoria Public Library at 2 p.m.
The BC Independent Cannabis Alliance, an unincorporated coalition of organizations and individuals lobbying the provincial government for fair regulations, is proud to host the first meeting in the country, with other cities to follow. The CFIB was founded in 1971 and boasts a membership of over 109,000 small businesses across Canada. The timing for cannabis entrepreneurs on the Islands could not be better.
The CFIB is defined by the following principles:
- The global value of the free enterprise system and the crucial role of small business within that system
- The necessity of the entrepreneurial spirit to create hope and opportunity
- Eliminating obstacles at all levels of government that stand in the way of small business growth
- Never giving up and never going away in advocating for small business
The future of cannabis in Canada is being framed now in anticipation of legalization. Independent businesses are determined to bring diversity, quality, and their craftsmanship to the landscape. In order to do this, the legacy medicine-makers, cultivators, breeders, and all manner of small cannabis industry will be in attendance at this first meeting.
The CFIB boasts a strong relationship with all levels of government. Although grassroots organizations and fledging industry associations focused solely on the cannabis industry have gained influence and credibility, the goal of a merger with a mainstream entity such as the CFIB, with their decades of expertise and experience, is to energize local businesses.
In addition to credible lobbying efforts, the CFIB also offers small business support and counselling. This will be critical for many potential members. The transition to a regulated cannabis industry will have challenges that many are ready to embrace, but some will be less-equipped than will be required. The help of qualified mentors and the relationships that will inevitably develop will mean a win-win for local artisans and the professionals who will help them. The partnerships and programs that the CFIB is able to facilitate will create considerable advantages for the cannabis community moving forward.
Vancouver and the Gulf Islands have a rich heritage and friendly political landscape with respect to cannabis. Leaders in business and government in Victoria in particular have been at the leading edge of progressive policy, and local politicians are very receptive to an inclusive industry and those who represent it. The advantages of merging with an established mainstream industry association are significant, and the move is supported by allies in other sectors in order to maximize the potential for the Island communities in the future.
This is the first of several meetings that the CFIB is expected to organize in other cities and regions, including the Kootenays, Vancouver, and Toronto. Organizers expect the CFIB and prospective members will address many concerns including advertising, interprovincial trade, sustainability, members’ benefits, and local agendas.
The recent recommendations from the federal Task Force were encouraging for the artisanal sector, with references and support for craft, diversity, and environmentally responsible policy. With this momentum, small local business owners are emboldened to continue moving forward and investing in legitimizing their vision for the future of cannabis in Canada and their place in it.