Tracey Harvey Begins PhD Research on Cannabis

SEG Instructor Asking for Input from Staff on Impact to Rural BC


School of Environment & Geomatics instructor Tracey Harvey is currently undertaking work on her PhD that looks into the social and economic impact the legalization of recreational cannabis will have on rural British Columbia.

As part of the process, Harvey is asking for participation into her research by Selkirk College staff who have an interest, opinion or insight into this subject area. Using Thoughtexchange—the local company which you may remember was used for the Selkirk College input into our Strategic Plan a couple months back—Harvey is asking staff to take a few moments to help with the research.

Tracey Harvey Research Project

School of Environment & Geomatics instructor Tracey Harvey at a local medically licensed research and development facility.

The exchange is open until July 6, please take time to participate.

Here is Harvey’s letter to staff which provides more explanation and the link to the Thoughexchange page:

Dear colleagues.

I want to share my PhD project that I am undertaking through the University of Guelph, with those of you whom I have yet to connect with personally.  

As some of you are aware, with the imminent legalization of recreational cannabis, I have set out to understand the social and economical implications of this monumental policy change to rural regions of British Columbia, with a particular focus on the Kootenay economic development region.

While the long-lasting social effects of recreational cannabis are likely beyond the duration of my three-year project, I am working to gather primary data to create a benchmark from which we can measure socioeconomic change in the near- and far-future, as well as to which we can make estimates from the (currently present) grey and black markets.

Learning from the historic introduction of other mind and mentation altering substances, like coffee, tea, and alcohol, normalization of cannabis, although it may not be desired, is entirely likely. Regardless of how welcoming normalization is, I suggest it will benefit our societies to be prepared for potentially significant attitude changes towards cannabis.

Some Kootenay residents acknowledge that cannabis has played a key role in the socioeconomic fabric of many of our local communities for decades, bolstering their economies during other industry downturns, and providing employment when other opportunities where bleak.

I am continually told that the cannabis industry, in rural B.C. regions, is not funded by organized crime. I am told over and over that the cannabis industry is comprised mainly of small, mom and pop gardens, growing hand-tended specialty craft varieties. The prevalence of small businesses mainly comprising the B.C. cannabis industry also resembles the business climate in B.C., where 98% of businesses in our province are small to medium sized. Related to this, last month, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, advocating to the province for fair business, recommended suggestions in support of the B.C. craft cannabis industry, such as farm to table sales. 

While I can write about the economic and social significance that this industry has played to date, as based on anecdotal stories, I don’t have a wide-spread cross sectional understanding of what rural citizens think of recreational cannabis legalization. 

This is why I am reaching out to you now. I want to know; from within your role at the college, and within your community, what concerns you with legalization? I also want to know, what you see as opportunities with legalization? It is within this context that I am inviting you to participate in a Thoughtexchange process to share your thoughts and to rate those shared by others.

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts about this topic within the exchange, it is imperative that you please review the informed consent to get started so that you are aware of your personal priacy and any risk to you as a participant. If you are ok with the informed consent and agree to participate, you can:

1. Text "Hello" to 728-55 and enter the 9-digit participation code: 941-342-330 or

2. Use the weblink here.

You may also wish to consult the project webpage for more detail or view the invitation video.

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