A cannabis producer in BC is trying to let retailers know they are not affiliated with the BC government.
BC Cannabis Inc. is an Indigenous-owned micro cultivator based in Sooke, BC, licensed in April 2021.
Albert Eppinga, the company’s owner, says he and his team were excited to launch their first products recently in BC. However, they have received feedback that some cannabis retailers are under the impression the company is connected to the BC government.
Because of pent-up animosity some retailers have towards both the BC LDB, which handles distribution in the province, and the government-run BC Cannabis Stores, Eppinga says some retailers have been hesitant to buy their new BC Cannabis Inc products.
“What we were finding is quite interesting,” explains Eppinga. They think BC Cannabis Inc is a brand from the BC Cannabis Liquor Board or the BC Cannabis Store. Since some stores are opposed to the BC LDB and BC Cannabis Store, they don’t want to buy our products because they think we’re a part of the government.”
As an independent, Indigenous-owned cannabis grower in BC, he says he has been working overtime to ensure retailers know more about his company and who they are—and that the BC government does not own them.
“It’s becoming a bit of a controversy. We were all excited to get into the BC LDB, and now we’re finding that people don’t want to purchase from central delivery, and they think we’re a part of the government.”
While some retailers might not be familiar with the brand, two StratCann spoke with said they not only know it, they have gone out of their way to support it because of their appreciation for Eppinga and his unique, small-scale operation.
“I love Albert’s weed,” says Mike Babins of Evergreen Cannabis in Vancouver. “I never thought about the name issue. I really want his company to succeed!”
Andrea Dobbs, at Village Bloomery, also in Vancouver, says she’s been happy to carry the product because she’s familiar with it. However, she can see why some retailers might be confused by the somewhat corporate-sounding name.
“I think Alberta is great, he’s a great grower, and I think it would be great if he had a brand that better reflected his expertise, his knowledge, and his personality.”
Laina Yates, who works as the western sales manager at Mercari Agency Limited, which markets cannabis products including those from BC Cannabis Inc., says she can understand the confusion, and agrees that producers need to ensure their brand conveys the unique aspects of their personality.
“Your name really needs to reflect your brand and personality,” says Yates, “and we can see here how that can be very important.”