Small marijuana firms are being ‘locked out’ of Canada’s industry, lawmaker charges

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Small cannabis businesses aren’t getting a fair shake in Canada’s marijuana industry, according to a member of Parliament from British Columbia who recently took to the floor of the House of Commons.

A new set of draft regulations could open the door for smaller producers by introducing new production licenses that are easier and faster to obtain.

But those regulations won’t be rolled out until later this year.

“New producers and small producers are being locked out,” Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski said, noting that large corporations backed by hundred of millions of dollars in financing are filling the void before smaller producers can even get licensed.

By the time the draft regulations are implemented, he added, large corporations will have cornered even more of the market, leaving less space for entrepreneurs.

Stringent regulations and red tape mean cultivation licenses can take up to five years to acquire.

So far, 91 licenses have been issued.

Small companies “are being prevented at every turn” from participating in a legal industry, while Big Pot corners the market,” Stetski said.

He highlighted the case of the Kootenay Marijuana Company.

Stetski said the British Columbia company’s founder can’t get a license from Health Canada “because she can’t raise capital, and she can’t raise capital until she has a license. That’s the definition of a catch-22.”