Cannabis Information for Liquor Licensees
With the legalization of non-medical cannabis in 2018, the Liquor Cannabis Regulation Branch has been getting a lot of questions about how the new cannabis rules affect liquor establishments in BC. To help provide clarity the Branch recently created a Cannabis Information for Liquor Licensees & Permittees document.
I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the information. You can find it on our website in the Liquor and Cannabis Law and Policy section. Use this short web address to get to our website: www.gov.bc.ca/liquorregulationandlicensing
Below are a few highlights that answer the most common questions we have received. Please note: establishments operating as private clubs are exempt from some of these rules, and thus may have more discretion. If you are a private club, please see specific information related to you in Cannabis Information for Liquor Licensees & Permittees.
Liquor licensees can’t sell or supply cannabis.
That means you can’t use cannabis in your cooking or mix it with food or drinks that you provide to your customers. This rule applies to all forms of cannabis, including CBD oils. (CBD is a common chemical in cannabis that also causes drug-like effects, but without the ‘intoxication’ of THC. Both CBD and THC products are defined as ‘cannabis’ under federal law.)
People are legally allowed to bring cannabis into an establishment.
In BC, people over 19 are allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in fresh cannabis or oil, anywhere in a public place. They are also allowed to carry more than that if they have a medical authorization.
Smoking or vaping cannabis isn’t allowed inside your establishment or on your patio.
In order to protect establishment staff from second-hand exposure, smoking or vaping cannabis is prohibited inside your establishment. In addition, smoking or vaping cannabis on all public patios is specifically prohibited by provincial regulation. This prohibition remains even on patios in areas of the province where bylaws allow tobacco smoking.
People may or may not be allowed to smoke or vape cannabis on your outdoor property.
The province allows people to smoke or vape cannabis on your establishment’s outdoor property as long as they’re at least six metres away from doors, windows, and other air intakes. However, local governments or Indigenous nations can apply further restrictions.
People can generally consume edibles both inside and outside your establishment.
Unlike smoking and vaping, cannabis edibles don’t produce second-hand smoke exposure and can be consumed anywhere in a public place, including establishments and public patios. Given that this topic has generated a lot of questions and some confusion, I encourage you to look at the “Edible Cannabis Products” section within Cannabis Information for Liquor Licensees & Permittees.
Intoxication and cannabis.
Your terms and conditions handbook includes a number of rules related to intoxication and service. These rules apply to intoxication by liquor, cannabis, or any other drug. So in a certain sense, not much has changed. Given the complexity of this overall topic, I encourage you to read the “Intoxication” section within Cannabis Information for Liquor Licensees & Permittees and re-familiarize yourself with updated Serving It Right materials.
When to seek legal advice.
As a general note, if an establishment wishes to explore placing limits on any of the above, such house polies can potentially raise human rights/discrimination concerns that are beyond the scope of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Therefore, the establishment should seek their own legal advice before developing such policies.
If you have any questions, please contact LCLBLiquorPolicy@gov.bc.ca. We are always happy to help.
Cannabis Possession & Consumption at Liquor Establishments – A Quick Glance
* Unless some form of restriction is placed by local government or Indigenous nation.