Transitioning to the new rural cannabis economy is a PhD project that aims to understand some socioeconomic impacts of recreational cannabis legalization to rural regions of British Columbia (B.C.) that housed a prohibition era cannabis sector.

Over the last 50 years many rural communities from the Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Okanagan and Kootenay region quietly grew into cannabis producing hubs. While the outlaw industry was mostly ignored and excluded from economic contributions up until recently, it has been a significant, yet largely hidden part of the socioeconomic fabric of rural B.C. communities for decades. With the Kootenay region as the case study, the project goal is to evaluate how historically producing rural regions can effectively transition to the new legal cannabis economy.

Questions include:  To what extent has the cannabis industry supported rural B.C. economies? How will rural communities historically supported by the cannabis industry be impacted socially and economically with legalization of recreational cannabis? How were legalization stakeholders engaged during policy making? What supports and training are needed to respond to legalization?  What barriers are in the way of a smooth to transition to the legalized regime? What opportunities and challenges do these regions face with legalization?

This project used Thoughtexchange to gather preliminary data for this project, which will be translated into consumable briefs over the next short while, with more primary data collection methods to follow.

You can optionally download a one-page project fact sheet: Research Fact Sheet – Cannabis Research 2018.

Please contact me if you have a story to share or are interested in being involved.

4 thoughts on “PhD Project Introduction

  1. I really want to continue producing high quality organically grown cannabis , we really want to be fairly included and not have obstacles but help to transition.This is my culture and my lively hood and 1000,s of other families are in the same position.We have created communities in the underground, beceause we were forced to do so . Much of the profits benefit all the stores around our communities and towns , the ski hills ,the restaurants, it’s the trickle down effect everyone supports everyone in a way. If we are kept out , and we are not allowed to be included, this whole region could really be hurt. How do we create healthy communities? By supporting each other and keeping profits in the communities .


    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If you are interested in sharing more with me in a one-on-one interview, please send an email to and I will follow up with you. If you haven’t yet shared your thoughts in the exchange, I urge you to do so and to also rate other people’s shared thoughts to help us develop a better understanding of people’s priorities and their importance. Your ideas on the opportunities and solutions would be particularly great to share there since few have been shared thus far.


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