Line the pockets of criminals at the expense of public safety

We simply can no longer sit idly by and watch this sector dismantle. We try to keep our businesses above water. The health and safety of our consumers are at risk. The basement will thrive. We will lose everything.

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Keeping cannabis out of reach of young people and protecting consumers with a safe and clean supply – that’s why cannabis was legalized in the first place. But we forget that. As the British Columbia General Employees Union strike continues to unfold, store shelves are emptying and consumers are turning to the unregulated market.

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It is simply unacceptable. We cannot let this happen. We have worked too hard.

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This is a priority for me as a BC-based Licensed Cannabis Producer. This strike and the absence of an emergency plan from the government triggered a domino effect of problems. It’s really irresponsible. The government has failed to maintain a safe supply of cannabis to communities and people in British Columbia. I really can’t believe it’s gotten to this point.

The government must act now or within a month we risk losing all the gains generated by the legalization of cannabis. Last year, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch contributed $1.16 billion to fund important services across the province – services we need more than ever as British Columbians face severe economic uncertainty. at their home. People across the province are already struggling, and due to poor planning and inaction, hundreds of retailers will be forced to make tough choices about closures, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

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The threat of government inaction extends to both retailers and cannabis producers. The economic destabilization of a new sector is in the hands of the government, and that is the most frustrating thing to watch. More alarmingly, public health and safety will be left in the hands of an unregulated black market.

Last June, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told British Columbians not to buy illicit cannabis after a report was released showing that “virtually all” of the illicit cannabis samples tested were contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, mould, etc. But now, what choice does each have? With each passing day of government inaction, consumer confidence erodes. People have already started getting their cannabis from the street. All that work for nothing.

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Keeping cannabis profits out of the pockets of criminals is something we have fought tooth and nail for since the beginning. Producers and retailers find it difficult to compete in the black market, and even on good days it is difficult. Unlike them, we are highly regulated, overtaxed and operate on razor thin margins. And now this. Forget. They have well-established, sophisticated and robust supply chains underground. We give them exactly what they want, and our hands are tied.

There are solutions to this problem. It is now up to the government to do its job.

First and foremost, a contingency plan must be in place to ensure a safe supply of cannabis continues to flow through the province. The government could declare cannabis an essential service as it did during the pandemic and develop an essential services plan. Instead, they recently only allowed small growers in BC to ship their products directly to retailers, but that’s just not good enough. The government must open up direct delivery to all producers in BC to prevent shelves from filling up and people turning to their dealers – the fact that public health and safety is at risk is reason enough for either of these solutions to become a reality, yesterday.

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We simply can no longer sit idly by and watch this sector dismantle. We try to keep our businesses above water. The health and safety of our consumers are at risk. The basement will thrive. We will lose everything.

Mandesh Dosanjh is President of Cannabis Cultivators of BC and President and CEO of Pure Sunfarms.

Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected]. The editor of the editorial pages is Hardip Johal, who can be reached at [email protected].

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