Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, and Courtland Sandover-Sly, a financial and insurance advisor, are directors of the B.C. Independent Cannabis Association. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, and Courtland Sandover-Sly, a financial and insurance advisor, are directors of the B.C. Independent Cannabis Association. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. marijuana dispensaries form independent group

‘Canada could run out of legal cannabis next July’

Canada is going to run out of legal marijuana soon after recreational sales are legalized next year if it depends only on federally licensed medical growers, say directors of the newly formed B.C. Independent Cannabis Association.

The association released its submission to the B.C. government Friday, as the NDP government consults local governments and the public about the looming federal deadline to legalize retail marijuana sales. It recommends that B.C. “avoid the central warehousing of fresh cannabis” and “make space for private distribution and retail within the legal framework.”

The “best actors from the current illicit industry” should be invited to operate under the new regulations, which B.C. has to have in place by next July 1 to control wholesale distribution and retail sales, says the submission.

After talks with other provinces and the federal government, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he is leaning towards a combination of provincial control and incorporating some of the locally licensed dispensaries that have popped up in B.C. communities. B.C. is crucial since it produces an estimated 70 per cent of Canada’s cannabis.

Two of the association’s directors spoke to Black Press. Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, said B.C.’s “craft cannabis” industry is world renowned, and communities would soon feel the hit if the federal and provincial governments force supply to be centralized in a few industrial operations.

Lane said it’s clear that if underground producers are shut out, “there’s not going to be a gram of legal cannabis left in Canada at the end of July.” He doesn’t expect the home of B.C. Bud to do that. He predicts it will follow the example of VQA wines and B.C. craft breweries in its licensing system.

“I expect the B.C. government to come up with public-private partnership similar to what’s been happening with the loosening of the liquor laws,” Lane said. “I think we’re going to see, where there are cities with a long-standing dispensary economy, those good-acting dispensaries are going to be allowed into the retail marketplace.”

Courtland Sandover-Sly is chairman of the new association. He is a financial advisor and insurance broker for a dozen dispensaries, and says he was the first in North America to arrange a benefits plan for cannabis dispensary employees and management.

“We know that the NDP government here in B.C. appreciates the size of the industry,” Sandover-Sly said, citing a Fraser Institute estimate of a $7 billion value to the economy. “I’m hopeful that they are aware of this and know that not protecting the industry could be devastating, particularly to rural communities.”

Other directors are:

• Alex Robb, general manager of Trees Dispensaries, one of the first to receive a business licence from the City of Victoria

• Jamie Shaw, a government relations specialist who served as a director of the B.C. Compassion Club Society and president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

• Robert Laurie, a lawyer who worked in finance in London and New York before starting a practice focused on the business of cannabis and criminal defence

marijuana dispensaries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police seek suspect after woman nearly robbed while getting out of vehicle

Incident occurred before 7 a.m. Feb. 17 in parking lot off Cordova Bay Road

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Goldstream Food Bank president Gayle Ireland is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Community Volunteer of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Two-week stint at Goldstream Food Bank turns into 35 years of volunteer service

Goldstream Food Bank’s Gayle Ireland is the 2021 Community Volunteer of the Year

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read