The following press release is an initiative created by Alan Aldous on behalf of those in Canada’s legal cannabis industry to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, which affects even those industries deemed essential. It is important to note that on the date of this release’s publishing, the federal government of Canada had not yet designated cannabis retail as an essential service.
Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – March 27, 2020) – The regulated cannabis industry has recently united to address a critical issue it has faced since its inception: a lack of equitable access to banking services and financial support. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to fix this while demonstrating that cannabis is an essential product.
We commend the individuals and organizations that have been vocal in their support for the cause: Don Davies (MP), Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (MP), Scott Reid (MP), Dan Sutton (Tantalus Labs), The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Cannabis Council of Canada. Their lobby efforts have been directed towards the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Bill Morneau P.C., M.P. (Minister of Finance), and Navdeep Bains P.C., M.P. (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry), in an attempt to influence federal decision makers.
In solidarity, Alan Aldous has created an educational website to highlight the positive contributions to the Canadian economy, www.LegalTender.ca. We have also organized a coalition of industry experts, associations, and companies to advocate for change, including the Cannabis Council of Canada, NORML Canada, the British Columbia Independent Cannabis Association, the Ontario Independent Cannabis Association, the Alberta Cannabis Micro Licence Association, and The Cannabis Conservatory.
“The cannabis industry is doing its best to provide Canadians with an uninterrupted supply of legal cannabis, but it is not immune to the effects of COVID-19. Cannabis businesses deserve access to the same financial support being made available to other industries. Cannabis sector jobs are just as worthy of protection as any other,” says Trina Fraser, a prominent cannabis industry lawyer at firm Brazeau Seller Law.
In just one day, hundreds of Canadians have signed this urgent petition (https://bit.ly/2QKvwTQ) advocating for equitable treatment by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Federal Government of Canada. We are thrilled by the response so far, and encourage hard-working Canadians to sign, share, and have their voices heard.
Those affected include numerous ancillary businesses because they produce, process, distribute, or sell legal cannabis. The BDC still views Cannabis as a high-risk industry, despite the work done within to improve on compliance, social responsibility, and economic contributions. This systemic problem is not newfound but recently came into focus as the COVID-19 crisis amplifies the potentially dire impact.
1. We ask that the BDC remove their sweeping ban on giving financial support to companies in the legal cannabis sector, as it does for most other areas.
2. We ask that the BDC provide legal cannabis businesses with access to stimulus funding to the over 300 Health Canada license holders that produce, process, distribute, or sell legal cannabis affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. We ask the Federal Government to ensure fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry by granting its participants equal opportunity access to tax benefit programs, credit facilities, loans, and everyday banking abilities.
We are so grateful for all of the support from our friends and colleagues in this industry, which is really an ecosystem. Here are a few of our favourite messages from the campaign period.
Learn more about the positive impact the legal cannabis industry has in Canada at www.LegalTender.ca
Coverage of the campaign included Postmedia’s The GrowthOp, as well as Mugglehead, which also included a quote from our own Patrick Moher. As of May 18, 2020, the petition is aiming to reach 1,000 signees.