With markets plummeting, the sector opened the week to a report from Tantalus Labs CEO Dan Sutton that a senior official at the federal Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) told him they are “not authorized to do business with cannabis companies.” This means cannabis companies will be shut out of national COVID relief stimulus funds for small businesses, which include $10B in increased loans to “qualifying” businesses from BDC and Export Development Canada.
Twitter–@DSutton1986, GrowthOp, Globe and Mail
- Cannabis Council of Canada CEO George Smitherman stressed LPs “are all new businesses in a fledgling, complicated sector, and […] badly need support from governments due to the added tumult onset by COVID-19.” He added that LPs contributed $8B to GDP. Smitherman pressed this point in a letter to Mary Ng, federal minister for small business, export promotion, and international trade.
Yahoo Finance, MJ Biz Daily
- BDC appeared to duck specific questions and discussions with figures in the sector, saying only “We are evaluating the situation as it evolves, including the needs of entrepreneurs and the impact on specific industries. We are working on the details on how the program will work, and will share an update in the coming days.
- Auxly CEO Hugo Alves noted BDC is a Crown corporation but refuses to do business with an industry created by the federal government.
Some federal funds are available–but only through federal agricultural lender Farm Credit Canada, which may only lend to those involved in growing. Processors and those involved in wholesale and retail worry they will have no access.
MJ Biz Daily, Twitter–@ms_janeen_davis
Organigram VP public affairs Cameron Bishop demanded the sector be recognized as a “legitimate economic driver” responsible for “thousands of jobs nationwide” and “hundreds of millions in investments.”
- Bishop spun his points into a series of potential calls for industry-wide action from the federal government to help LPs struggle through COVID, including lowering excise taxes and moratorium on 2.3% revenue sharing.
- Though 98% of Canadian businesses are small businesses, half of 1% of LPs are small businesses–which many believe reflects federal dismissal of cannabis entrepreneurs.
Globe and Mail
The three cross-party co-chairs of the Parliamentary Cannabis Caucus, NDP MP Don Davies, Conservative MP Scott Reid, and Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith signed a joint letter to finance minister Bill Morneau demanding cannabis have access to COVID-19 stimulus measures.