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HomeNewsBC Craft Farmers Cannabis Summit underway in Prince George

BC Craft Farmers Cannabis Summit underway in Prince George

Hundreds have flocked to Prince George for the BC Craft Farmers Cannabis Summit at the Ramada Hotel, which officially kicked off at 2:00 this afternoon (Friday).

This is the third year the summit has been held, and the first time it has come to the Northern Capital.

The weekend’s festivities will cover a wide spectrum of topics and activities, from panels on provincial and national cannabis policy reform, farming, and distribution, to a full-blown 4/20 street party on George Street tomorrow afternoon.

Dr. Susan Dupej, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow, is one of the guests that has traveled to Prince George for the event.

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She is currently researching Canadian cannabis tourism at the University of Guelph, when speaking with My PG Now before the Summit she said “BC has a very large opportunity, in a different way than the rest of Canada because there is such a large presence of growers here.”

“Prince George has a cannabis presence, with respect to dispensaries and local growers,” she said. “[Tourists] may not be coming here for the cannabis itself, but it can play an important role in the overall experience in a destination.”

For this reason, Dupej believes there needs to be a stronger connection between the cannabis industry and local tourism agencies – in this case, Tourism PG.

Colin Carson, the CEO of Tourism PG, will be a panel member at the summit during the weekend.

Nearly 300 people are attending the conference, many from out of town.

Dupej said “it speaks volumes of the interest,” both regionally and provincially.

Patrick Weiler, the Member of Parliament for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, is another speaker who made the journey for the event.

“Since reactional use was legalized in 2018 we have seen legacy producers going to the formal market,” he told My PG Now. “There are so many great successes to highlight, but there are also some big challenges. There are a lot of things we need to adjust so these businesses can be successful.”

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Some challenges he expects conversation to be focused around include the high provincial excise tax, streamlining regulatory processes, and competition with the illicit market.

Tyson Wall is one of many with booth at the summit, he is CEO, Co-Founder, and Master Grower at Prince George-based Kush Mountain.

“The summit is a great place for everyone in the industry to get together,” he said. “A big topic is the excise tax, there is a lot of changes that we think really should happen. Having the conversations with MPs and getting involved is the first step.”

“It is great to see the summit happen in Prince George and we are really excited to be a part of it,” Wall continued. He will speak on a panel tomorrow called ‘The Forefront of the Industry.’

The main event for many, especially locals, is the 4/20 street party being held tomorrow – the first time in Canadian history a municipality has approved a city block being shut down for there to be a marijuana centered event.

“The party is going to be really great,” Wall said. “We weren’t expecting city blocks to be shut down by any means, but there’s a first time for everything and we think it is a great start.”

“I don’t think I can put it into words, because this is one of the areas Canada has lacked,” Dupej said. “Allowing people to celebrate, I love that the public is invited into this space and it is not just summit goers… It is the first, it is going to set precedent and be a great foundation for other venues and events across the country.”

“There is a lot going on in Prince George this weekend,” Weiler said, citing the Cougars playoff game tonight and the Home and Garden show in Kin 1. “I think it is important to be able to celebrate where we are right now – this is a big part of the Canadian economy, there is cause to celebrate and I think it is special for so many people to come together and do that.”

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Tomorrow’s street party will be held between 10:00 and 4:20, it will feature 27 different vendors, games, food trucks, and more.

You can read more about Dupej, Weiler, and the other speakers at the summit that is taking place inside here.

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