Some unlicensed cannabis producers in Canada are still making millions

Published Jul 30, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / OlegMalyshev

On average, Canada reported that black market cannabis was $4.72 cheaper per gram than the legal dispensary prices. Are you willing to sacrifice regulations for a reduced price? About 35% of cannabis consumers depend on the cannabis producers who function in the black market space to be their supplier, are you one of them?

The numbers

Unlicensed cannabis producers who supply the black market dispensaries made about one-third more in revenue than the province's legal dispensaries. The unlicensed cannabis producers are reported to have revenue figures amounting to $1.24 billion. This is compared to the licensed B.C. cannabis producers who say revenues are  $765 million.  The legal sales revenue is $600 million more than the reported income in the first year of legalization in Canada.

The plan

The minister of jobs and economic development, Michelle Mungall, has pointed to a government guide to assist the black market or grey market dispensaries and cannabis producers with their transition into the legal market. The idea was for the black market to make the transition to the legal market slowly and without barriers. Society needs this and would profit from the transition in Mungalls view, but the government needs to be willing to help.

Name that guide

More than a year after legalization began, the B.C. legal, licensed cannabis producers still have not made equal revenue as that which is generated from the black market. Statistic Canada delivers this information, and the province supplies the information to the general public. The government has introduced The Cannabis Production Regulatory Navigator. The plan will assist the black market in navigating the steps required to regulate and approve legal market products

According to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the guide will provide a smooth and precise tool to provide assessable information about how the black market cannabis space enters the legal cannabis space. The transitioning of more black market cannabis producers and dispensaries will be the help needed to assist public safety and health while at the same time creating stable jobs required to provide support for families and communities.

Who specifically will this plan help?

Accessing the online navigator will help the Indigenous, small scale, and the craft cannabis producers to overcome some of the cost of attaining the appropriate licenses and approvals. The simplifying of the process will help to ensure that more cannabis producers get their business up and running while creating jobs right across the province. The guide will help to streamline and simplify the licensing process. Companies of all sizes, including cultivating, growing, harvesting, and processing, will be assisted. The plan will include processing, manufacturing, and packaging for commercial purposes in B.C.

Last word

Currently, in B.C. 66 standard cultivation licenses are held, ten micro-cultivation licenses have been issued, and there are five nursery license holders. Completing the cannabis space in B.C. are 51 standard processing license holders and a total of two micro-processing license holders. B.C. is maintaining progress in reducing the number of unlicensed cannabis production while continuing to support the licensed cannabis sector.

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