New pot selling rules too restrictive but step in right direction, Kelowna man says
Health Canada’s regulations surrounding the type of packaging cannabis will be sold in has at least one Kelowna businessman, who hopes to sell recreational marijuana once it’s legalized, speaking out.
“I see it as restrictive but a step forward,” DOJA Cannabis Company owner Trent Kitsch said.
Kitsch, who has a licence to cultivate cannabis at two growing facilities in the central Okanagan, also owns the DOJA cannabis café in downtown Kelowna.
He hopes the store will be able to eventually sell legalized recreational marijuana.
“We were awarded a licence to cultivate in July 2017 and we hope to get a licence to sell,” he said.
Kitsch told Global News that any step towards legalization is reason to celebrate, but he was hoping the packaging wouldn’t be as restrictive.
“It is a little monochromatic,” he said. “It does not let the companies express themselves or easily convey to the customer what makes us different.”
Earlier this week, Health Canada announced cannabis packaging rules that are similar to that of cigarette packaging.
Kitsch believes the packaging should have been modeled more after alcohol, not cigarettes.
“I think that the packaging is treating it with the harms of tobacco, and my personal opinion is cannabis is much less harmful than tobacco and should be treated much like alcohol,” he told Global News.
Kitsch said wine and other alcohol labels allow the product to be fully described, something he believes consumers want.
“I think people want to learn about cannabis because it’s such a flat environment right now,” he said. “There is much knowledge seeking and people want to know what makes things different so I think that is important to let people learn.”
He also said he believes the restrictive packaging further re-enforces the stigma surrounding cannabis.
“That cannabis is one thing when it’s so many things and it’s actually cannabis indica, sativa, many varieties, many different levels of cannabinoids that can affect you differently so I think it is a step forward but it could have been better.”
A key vote was held Thursday on the cannabis bill. Senators voted 44 to 29 to pass Bill C-45 giving the Liberal Government approval in principle to legalize recreational marijuana.
If all goes according to plan, legal sales of cannabis could start as early as August.
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