After Allard I wrote that the licensed producers (LPs) would end up in the ash-heap of history.
Evidently, some people mistakenly thought I meant all commercial models of cannabis would end up in the dustbin.
To the contrary, an existing market in BC is evidence of a self-made middle class, independent of intrusive regulations but peacefully trading and abiding by contracts and agreements in spite of prohibition and in limbo medical regulations.
The LPs are the corporate newcomers, with their value like the self-esteem of a Wall Street investor. Once the stock market ceases to function adequately, the actual value of these companies is in question.
In addition to the following three reasons, the LPs still belong on the ash-heap of history. Unless of course, Canadian companies just so happen to dominate the American markets and international scene.
It could happen. But here are three reasons why it won’t:
1. High cost to regulations
Unless you’re one of the lucky, top LPs, who got into the game early and had the political-bureaucratic networking resources, the regulations imposed by Health Canada are costly and unnecessary.
Cannabis does not need the security mandated by Harper’s MMPR and reinforced through Liberal MP Bill Blair’s cop conditioning.
If everyone can grow it, and communities can write their own bylaws to control it, then what is the justification for commercial security?
Alcohol isn’t strictly controlled like LP facilities, there are home-brews, small craft breweries, and wineries, and anyone is free to have a garden, to even grow tobacco plants in their home.
Insofar that the licensed producers exist in the future, they will be consolidated domestically (see, Canopy) and then, eventually, by foreign buyers.
The brand won’t matter, what’s important now is getting their hands on BC plant genetics, at least then they’ll have leverage when the global boys come out to play.
2. Competition from abroad
And it is this competition from abroad that will eventually supersede and replace the domestic Canadian cannabis market.
An open international cannabis market may put LPs out of business if Canadian liquor stores, pharmacies, and dispensaries start selling imports from the hot outdoors.
At least that’s the way an investor sees it, Anthony Wile from the Toronto-based venture capital firm The Wile Group.
Unless there is a demand for “made-in-Canada” bud, why buy from some security-laden laboratory when you can experience the best the United States or Latin America have to offer?
Grown and imported legally, prices would fall with quality likely to improve, provided government jurisdictions don’t undermine the process.
3. Opposition from BC Bud
What about a “made-in-Canada” brand? What about BC Bud? Is indoor cannabis cultivation a thing of the past?
If the LPs don’t survive internationally, what hope does the small-time BC farmer have?
For one thing, there is a decades-long brand of “BC Bud” built by a nexus of farmers and their plant genetics.
Perfecting a strain of cannabis by developing its genetics is a skill that doesn’t require large-scale outdoor production. Even a personal indoor gardener can stumble on a popular strain of cannabis.
Indoor or outdoor cultivation is a matter of consumer preference and, given the popularity of BC’s plant genetics, an international market would diversify the industry, not hinder it.
Absent a global corporate-state predatory system, there is no reason Canadian cannabis wouldn’t succeed in the global marketplace.
Hence, why it’s important for BC Bud to hang on to its independence from Ottawa and for all Canadians to fight for home-growing.
LPs have gone through the federal system and expect BC farmers to comply as well. But Trudeau’s Liberals aren’t looking for a “boutique industry.”
If the cannabis community embarks down that regulatory road, if compromises are made with the federal bureaucracy and the attitude of the international community — then what will become of BC’s plant genetics? That only leverage against international crony-capitalism?