Okanagan cannabis worker says weed products are unfairly taken off market

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Some workers in the Okanagan cannabis industry say that dozens of weed products are frequently taken off the market unfairly.

There are thousands of cannabis products available in BC from Organic Comatose flower to Berry Blitz gummies, so many consumers don’t notice that hundreds of products are added and removed from the market every few months.

The BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch oversee which products make it from the grow-operation to store shelves.

Jamie Miller-Haywood works at a pot shop and with the tourism group Explore Okanagan Cannabis. She says the government’s approach to regulating which products are available to consumers is filled with problems.

“The BCLDB frequently delists products for no given reasons, and they also deny perfectly good products that the consumers are looking for, I'm not sure why,” she said. “In many people's opinion the BCLDB are inconsiderate and uneducated gatekeepers that seem to be hell bent on dictating product accessibility not by consumer demand or quality of product, but rather by uneducated guess.“

The board contributes roughly $1 billion to the provincial government coffers annually.

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The Ministry of Public Safety, which oversees the board, says products are delisted for underselling all the time.

“Cannabis products listed for the LDB central channel are reviewed on a weekly basis to identify underperforming products and make room for new, higher-potential products,” the ministry said in an emailed statement to iNFOnews.ca.

In January, there were at least 89 cannabis products delisted in BC, 34 were taken off the market by the producers and 54 were delisted by the BCLDB for underperforming.

The ministry says the number of products delisted per month varies, but 89 products is within the norm. New cannabis products have three months to prove they will be successful, if they don’t have enough sales the BCLDB takes them off the market.

Miller-Haywood says delisting these many products frequently only serves to increase the government’s profit rather than improve the market for those who work in the industry.

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“After five years post legalization the only entity that is making any money is the government and they are not returning the favours that we have been providing,” she said. “The people who run this distribution channel are not, and have never been part of the culture, and shouldn't be in control of this suffering industry.”

There is no sign of a change coming to cannabis market regulation, but Miller-Haywood says the government needs to do things differently.

“The government and the BCLDB had it in their mind at the beginning of legalization that cannabis is a cash cow and therefore they are entitled to 100 per cent of the profits. The result of that is good hard-working people are losing their life savings trying to contribute to an industry that is important to a lot of people out there,” she said.

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