BC Makes First Decisions on Cannabis Regulation

Mixed model of public & private retailers

The wholesale distribution of non-medical cannabis will be run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB), although will likely not be in the same warehouse as liquor.

There will be a mixed model of both public and private retail opportunities, but no decision has been made regarding online sales yet. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth advised that he will share details about the retail model by the end of January or beginning of February.

Whatever model is in place, Minister Farnworth says they “will only be selling legal products.”

Local government will have a say and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has put together a comprehensive submission that will be considered when putting together the retail model. Many local governments have said they want to be responsible for zoning of stores.

As per Minister Farnworth, the government of BC will set the retail price, which will depend on what the final structure looks like with taxes.

The minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis will be 19 years old.

Minister Farnworth dismisses the rumour that there will be windfall to the government from the sales of cannabis and advises there will be a lot of up-front costs for education about substance abuse and addiction as well as enforcement costs. He expects a comprehensive public education campaign will be done on a national level.

Approximately 18 bills will need to be made or revised in the spring, so there is still a lot of work ahead.