Thirty independent cannabis business owners, representing thousands of British Columbians who work in the cannabis sector, met yesterday in Victoria, BC with the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses to discuss membership, strategies, and industry concerns.
The group represented all elements of the cannabis industry and came from Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the interior of British Columbia, and Toronto. Hosted by the British Columbia Independent Cannabis Alliance, the attendees listened to Richard Truscott, VP of CFAB and Samantha Howard, Director of BC/CFIB, welcome their interest and discuss how the two groups can work together to create opportunities for small independent businesses in the future legal industry.
The CFIB represents small privately held businesses across Canada that have less than 500 employees and are Canadian owned. It is a non-partisan, non-profit political advocacy group with over ten thousand members in British Columbia. Its core values are a belief in the global value of the free enterprise system and the crucial role of small businesses within the system.
Members of the CFIB are found in all the major sectors of the economy, including agriculture, retail, business services, and hospitality. The relevance of common ground with other industries including the wine, beer, and distillation sectors, was acknowledged during the two hour meeting. Concerns surrounding banking, labour, tax, and red tape were discussed during a lively Q&A that provoked new ideas and strategies.
Handouts were provided, including a copy of the Financial Post article from the President of the CFIB, Dan Kelly, regarding their wealth of information with respect to the regulatory process and small business. His recommendations include looking at comparable regulatory regimes, and not allowing regulation to impede innovation, pointing out that innovation will be critical for the future of independent cannabis businesses large and small.
During his presentation, Richard Truscott, who also oversees Alberta for the CFIB, acknowledged that “British Columbia is really on the cutting edge of this,” and said he believes the more small businesses who participate in membership, the more influence they will have moving forward.
Ted Smith of the BC Independent Business Alliance is currently planning for a second meeting in Vancouver at the end of February, and other potential meetings in Nanaimo and the Kootenays. A Toronto meeting was also discussed, with several attendees acknowledging similar concerns on behalf of small cannabis and ancillary businesses in Ontario.
The need to work with each other, government agencies, and regulatory bodies, will mean a greater chance of succeeding in a legal cannabis industry, and a greater chance of the cannabis sector succeeding as a whole.