Store advocacy group Retail Cannabis Council of Canada launches

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A nonprofit advocacy group has launched to represent the interests of licensed Canadian cannabis stores at the federal level.

The Retail Cannabis Council of Canada (RCCC) represents existing partner groups in three provinces:

  • The Retail Cannabis Council of British Columbia.
  • The Retail Cannabis Council of Saskatchewan.
  • The Retail Cannabis Council of Ontario.

Alfred Schaefer, founding director of the RCCC, said the national group represents mostly independent stores, including more than 400 stores in Ontario, 140 in British Columbia and 40 in Saskatchewan.

“With the federal review of the (cannabis) legislation coming up, we just all saw the need to get together – not just to push for the things that, at a federal level, have been the sticking points that have been hard for the retailers, but also just creating a network of people that we can talk to and support each other around the country,” Schaefer told MJBizDaily.

For the most part, laws and regulations affecting licensed cannabis stores in Canada are the domain of the country’s provincial and territorial governments, not the federal government.

However, several federal issues are of concern to RCCC, said Schaefer, who is also president of the Retail Cannabis Council of B.C. and co-owner of four independent cannabis stores in that province.

For example, Canadian law sets a cannabis possession limit of 30 grams or the equivalent, which serves as a purchase cap.

Schaefer said that limit regularly causes some customers to “get their backs up.”

“We have stores up in some remote areas, and there’s a little bit of a distrust with what people call ‘government weed’ to begin with,” Schaefer explained.

“So anytime you start being like, ‘Well, you can’t buy more than this,’ it makes people feel weird.

“Those are the kinds of things that, maybe they go back to their (unregulated market) guy, and they keep buying from him.”

Like other Canadian cannabis industry groups, RCCC is interested in:

  • Changes to Canada’s restrictions on cannabis marketing.
  • Regulations that limit the potency of marijuana edibles and cannabis excise tax structure.

Schaefer said the RCCC has been in discussions with retailers in Alberta, which is currently Canada’s second-most-valuable provincial cannabis market after Ontario.

“We’d love to bring all the other provinces in as well,” he said.

Canadians spent 393.7 million Canadian dollars ($288 million) on legal, adult-use cannabis in August.