DoorHash? App-based pot delivery among recommendations from B.C. business group

·2 min read
A report from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce says the province's recreational pot rules should be reformed to better support regulated cannabis businesses, such as SpeakEasy Cannabis Company, whose workers and plants are pictured in 2020.  (Brady Strachan / CBC - image credit)
A report from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce says the province's recreational pot rules should be reformed to better support regulated cannabis businesses, such as SpeakEasy Cannabis Company, whose workers and plants are pictured in 2020. (Brady Strachan / CBC - image credit)

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce wants the province to "modernize" recreational cannabis by, among other things, allowing app-based delivery of products from private retailers.

A new report from the chamber says B.C.'s recreational pot industry is missing out on opportunities with present regulations.

The chamber makes 13 recommendations for rules around retail and delivery, licensing and taxation of cannabis businesses.

"Implementing the ... recommendations will unlock billions of dollars in private sector investment," Fiona Famulak, the chamber's president and CEO, said in a statement.

"It will create more jobs for British Columbians, increase tax revenue, and position the B.C. cannabis sector as a leader in Canada and internationally."

One of the sponsors of the report, Kiaro Cannabis chief operating officer Eleanor Lynch, says it's time to take a look at B.C.'s rules and how they could be changed to improve the consumer experience, help regulated businesses thrive and further cut out the illicit market.

Competing with illicit market

Among the report's recommendations is a call for the province to allow private pot retailers to accept online orders and for delivery services like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes to be able to bring customers their orders.

The chamber also wants cannabis growers to get a piece of the agri-tourism boom by allowing "farm-gate" sales directly to customers, just as wineries can sell their vintages to visitors.

The province is currently working on a farm-gate program, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has said, expected to launch in the spring.

"The thrust of the paper is addressing some of the imbalances in the market where consumers don't have easy access to regulated cannabis, still, to this day," Lynch said, adding that regulated retailers are still struggling against the illicit market.

"It's very frustrating for you to go out and to market, raise your own capital ... And then, you know, maybe an illicit operator opens up down the street."

Municipal red tape in crosshairs

The report also calls for streamlined licensing for retailers, especially when it comes to municipal issues.

It also calls for an end to B.C.'s 20 per cent tax on cannabis vapes and for the province to work with the federal government to lower and streamline taxes on regulated pot.

Lynch argues that if taxes on cannabis vapes are too high, young consumers are more likely to buy unregulated vapes, but health officials have said the vape tax is important for combating youth smoking.

Lynch said the report has been given to various politicians and policy makers for their consideration.

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