Canadian Chamber of Commerce Forms Cannabis Advocacy Group

- June 25th, 2019

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has formed a new advocacy group representing the business interests of marijuana companies.

In an effort to support the business interests of Canadian marijuana industry stakeholders, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched a new cannabis group that includes some of the leading public firms.

On Tuesday (June 25), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce announced the formation of the National Cannabis Working Group, an association designed to represent and plead for the voices of marijuana businesses.

The new association announced it will seek to insert itself into the development of the Canadian marijuana market by way of advocacy or full development of public policies.

In the statement, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said Canada needs to do more in order to maintain the first-mover advantage granted to Canadian businesses thanks to the legalization of recreational use in October 2018.

“To support these global ambitions, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the National Cannabis Working Group to develop and advocate for public policies that will improve the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian cannabis sector and help governments achieve their health and safety objectives,” the group said.

Ryan Greer, senior director and cannabis policy lead for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Nathan Mison, VP of government and stakeholder relations for Fire & Flower Holdings (TSXV:FAF,OTC Pink:FFLWF), were selected as the leading co-chairs of the new group.

Greer said that, while it’s too early to identify specific goals for the association in terms of public policy, the group is interested in analyzing the competition between legal marijuana players with black market operations in Canada and the barriers of competition for Canadian players at the international stage.

“There’s … an opportunity to continue to educate elected officials, those who may be putting their names on the ballot for the federal elections this fall, federal servants and regulators and the broader public … (about) what the economic potential for this sector can be if we get a lot of (marijuana policies) right,” Greer told INN.

While the chamber has interacted with representing business interests in the cannabis space, Greer said that after some initial advocacy work, including conversations with Health Canada regarding the upcoming edibles market, it became clear there was a need for a formal marijuana group.

In a statement, Mison said cannabis ancillary businesses are “underrepresented” in the ongoing business conversation, but this group will seek to represent those operations.

Fire & Flower is a marijuana retailer in Canada, with 21 stores total in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The new cannabis group will seek members from all aspects of the marijuana market — not just growers — specifically with ancillary players such as financial aid, legal services, construction and transportation.

Despite this goal, a mix of the leading Canadian cannabis producers are also amid the list of launching members.

Below is a full list of the publicly traded launch members for the new group:

  • Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED)
  • Fire & Flower
  • Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT,OTCQX:HRVOF)
  • Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI,TSXV:OGI)
  • Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY)
  • Zenabis Global (TSX:ZENA)

Besides publicly traded marijuana companies, the National Cannabis Working Group also includes Cannabis Compliance and research and best business practices firm Deloitte Canada amid other businesses adjacent to the marijuana market.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is a business organization that represents the interests of business owners in various sectors of the Canadian economy.

The business ensemble regularly comments on developments and government decisions affecting the industries its members cover.

Greer told INN that the group has an open call for new members looking to join. When asked what the format for the leadership of the group election would be moving forward, Greer said it’s too early to say.

Greer said Fire & Flower was one of the driving forces to launch this group in partnership with the chamber. “They innately sort of understood the value of the chamber and the chamber network,” he said.

In 2018, a similar partnership of marijuana players was created. The Cannabis Council of Canada (C3) launched intending to serve as the voice of licensed producers in the country.

Current board members of C3 include executives from producers such as Aphria, Tilray, Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB,NYSE:ACB), Organigram Holdings and Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON,TSX:CRON).

Former executive director of the Cannabis Canada Council Allan Rewak previously told INN that the group acted as the stakeholder voice for licensed producers and mostly gathered to discuss issues affecting the members and the industry.

On its website, the council indicates that its members share a passion for patient-centric care and advocacy.

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Editorial Disclosure: Harvest One Cannabis is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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