Marijuana Regulations in BC

With Canada’s new Cannabis Act, slated to take effect later this year, would-be non-medical cannabis retailers and the general public would be wise to inform themselves of marijuana regulations in BC. While the BC government is still working out the details, some information about the proposed BC cannabis regulations has been published online.

Foremost in the minds of BC legislators is protecting youth, health and safety, reducing criminal activity related to cannabis, and road safety. These concerns will guide the development of BC’s regulatory framework for non-medical marijuana.

Highlights of BC Non-Medical Marijuana Regulations

Minimum-age of possession
The minimum age for legal non-medical cannabis possession, purchase and consumption will be 19 years – the same as it is for alcohol and tobacco possession and use. Adults aged 19 years and older may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place. No minors are permitted in a cannabis retail store.

Legal sales and purchase limited to privately run retail stores or government retail stores
Non-medical marijuana will be sold by licensed, privately run retail stores or public (government run) retail stores. Retail stores must have separate business locations (liquor retailers cannot sell cannabis in their liquor stores). BCLDB (BC Liquor Distribution Branch) will also run retail stores. While licensees in urban areas will not be allowed to sell cannabis in the same stores as liquor and tobacco, rural areas will require more flexibility and the government is establishing exceptions for rural non-medical cannabis sales.

Liquor Control and Licensing Branch responsible for cannabis licensing
The LCLB (Liquor Control and Licensing Branch) will be responsible for retail non-medical cannabis licensing in BC and monitoring of cannabis licensed retail stores in BC.

BC Liquor Distribution Branch is the sole distributor
The British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch will be the sole warehousing and distribution for cannabis in BC, similar to liquor.

Places of Use
The province will likely allow adults to use non-medical cannabis in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are currently allowed. Cannabis consumption will be prohibited in areas frequented by children and for all occupants of vehicles. Landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking.

Personal cultivation of non-medical cannabis
Adults 19 years of age and older may grow up to four (4) cannabis plants per household. Plants may not be visible from public spaces off property. Landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit personal cannabis cultivation. Cultivation will not be permitted in dwellings used for day care.

Drug impaired driving
Already in force in BC, drug impaired driving laws will be further enhanced, including the creation of a 90-day Administrative Driving Program for drug affected driving, and expansion of the Graduated Licensing Program to include zero-tolerance for the presence of THC.

BC Marijuana Regulations: A Work in Progress

The rules for non-medical cannabis retail licensing are still being established, though the BC government has already made a number of decisions, available in its “Cannabis Private Retail Licensing Guide” (PDF).

See for up-to-date information on cannabis regulations.

Considering Applying for a BC Cannabis Retail License? Our Licensing Consultants Can Help

If you are considering applying for a BC non-medical cannabis retail license, the professional liquor and cannabis licensing consultants at Rising Tide Consultants can help. We can guide and assist would-be liquor and cannabis retailers through the complex application process at both the Provincial and local government levels. Working with us increases the chances of application approval. We can also provide expert guidance on how to set up a cannabis retail store. Contact us today.

Is Your BC Retail Operation Prepared for Changes to Canada’s Marijuana Laws?

With changes to Canadian and BC marijuana laws imminent, intense planning and discussion has been underway in BC within provincial government bodies, the private sector, and the public. In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) with plans to legalize non-medical cannabis and amend Canada’s Criminal Code by July 2018.

While the BC government sought input (see “BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement” for details) and stakeholders are jockeying for position in the marijuana retail race, there are still many unknowns. What will the control, sale and distribution of marijuana in BC look like? How should retailers ensure their place in what is likely to be a long and competitive queue? Read more

Special Event Permit Holders Exempt From Donating Profits

LCLB Announcement Today, January 10, 2018 under Policy Directive No: 18 – 01

The General Manager may exempt Special Event Permit holders from donating event profits to charity if the event is of a municipal, provincial, national or international significance. The general manager will consider exemption requests for events that are provincially, nationally and internationally significant. Qualifying events must meet the following criteria:

A. Participants and performers at the event are primarily from around the province, Canada, or the world;

B. The event attracts spectators from around the province, Canada, or the world;

C. There is provincial, national, or international media coverage of the event.

To read the entire policy directive click here

Contact Rising Tide Consultants if we can assist you with your SEP. 

BC Special Event Permits Policy Change Proposal:
Exemption to donate profits when charging over cost recovery price

We are very pleased that the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is moving forward on a significant policy change regarding BC Special Event Permits (formerly Special Occasion Licenses). This class of license is used to license music festivals and cultural events. Read more

10 Steps to a Successful Liquor Inspection

This easy-to-use Liquor Inspection Checklist has been developed to help ensure your establishment has the best chance of passing a routine inspection by police, fire, and liquor inspectors, and that you are compliant with various requirements of the inspection authorities. On May 25, 2017 Rising Tide partnered with ABLE BC to conduct a 45 minute webinar with a Q&A session at the end that touches on topics of wine on grocery store shelves and marijuana. Visit ABLE BC to listen to the webinar.

Below is the checklist we highly recommend every establishment have on hand. If you would like any assistance in creating your binders, or if you have any questions or would like more information please contact Rebecca Hardin at Rising Tide Consultants.


One binder in your establishment containing:

– Copy of your current liquor license, business license, and occupant load certificate
– Copy of Liquor Branch and local government approved and stamped floor plan(s) showing licensed capacities and location of signage required by the Liquor Branch (e.g. Mandatory Social Responsibility Poster, No Liquor Beyond This Point, No Minors Permitted)
– List of all management and staff members including their address, contact phone number, and a copy of their current Serving It Right certificate. This should be updated on a regular basis due to staffing changes.
– List of key contacts including phone numbers and addresses for: police (non-emergency number), liquor inspector’s office and cell number (if they offer it), fire department (non-emergency number), BC Hydro, Taxi, Uber, Safe Ride Home programs, and Management and Ownership contact information
– Copy of any recent Liquor Branch approval letters for a change of hours, minors endorsement, capacity changes, structural changes, and other related matters pertaining to your establishment
Duplicate binder behind the bar or in close proximity to your posted

– Ensure all exit signs are lit
– Ensure exit ways are kept clear of any obstructions

– Ensure all exit doors can be opened and are not locked

– Ensure you and your staff control the entry and exiting out of your establishment
– Monitor the proper capacity count at all times

You are required to display at least one social responsibility poster or tent card from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
Additional due diligence signage: 2 Pieces of ID Required, No Minors Permitted, No Liquor Beyond This Point
Prepared by ABLE BC and Rising Tide Consultants May 2017

Get to know your liquor inspector, police and fire officials, health inspector, and local government officials
Ensure your staff and security know who these officials are, and are cooperative, pleasant and professional towards them as they conduct their inspections

Never make it known to your patrons that the liquor inspector is on the premises

Hold a daily staff huddle before shifts and cover:

– Enforcement issues
– Concerns and expectations
– Review policies and procedures
– Promotions and specials
– Upcoming events

Record your team meetings in your bound log book. This will show that continual ongoing education is conducted and managers are doing their due diligence.

Hold regular staff training sessions to ensure staff understands your policies and procedures and your expectations. You can also cover recent policy changes and sensitive issues, such as serving minors, over-crowding, and intoxication.

Prepare a second Liquor Register binder to keep in your office and available to authorities to review upon request. The binder should include:

– Copies of all invoices and receipts for liquor orders from suppliers
– Doc60 forms from the LDB
– In the absence of Doc60, the purchaser’s receipt from the LDB is acceptable
– Should record all purchases and transfers and report liquor store location, and faulty or damaged kegs

Prepare a comprehensive policy and procedures manual covering all aspects of managing and operating your licensed establishment, with the emphasis on liquor related policies involving minors, intoxication, capacity, gangs, fights, etc.
Other Helpful Tips

– Personnel changes at LCLB can impact your establishment. Get to know your inspector and meet their expectations.
– If an infraction does occur, having a comprehensive Policy and Procedures manual and being able to demonstrate your due diligence is the best defense.


US Launches Trade Challenge Against BC’s Wine On Grocery Shelves

Wednesday January 18th, 2017

The United States government announced it will be challenging British Columbia’s BC wine on grocery store shelves model. The US is disputing BC has violated  Canada’s international trade obligations, by allowing wine on grocery store shelves. While this trade challenge is surprising in the dying days of the Obama administration, the impact can be significant. Should the challenge be successful, it could have significant impact for BC’s entire wine industry, their direct delivery channel and the private liquor industry.

Click here to understand the US Challenge

As these events unfold, stay close to Rising Tide news and updates on our website or our social media posts.


2016 Year in Review – RTC Expands Services Beyond BC Liquor Licenses

In 2016, Rising Tide Consultants was very busy – growing our services beyond BC liquor licenses to include Alberta and Ontario liquor license services as well as all provinces, SKU registration, agent registration, and manufacturers license application services.

Before we review our year, we’d like to wish all of you a very Happy Holidays and New Year! We hope that 2017 brings you good health and prosperity, both personally and professionally. We want to thank our clients for their continued support and loyalty. You are the reason our business thrives and we are all grateful that you continue to choose Rising Tide Consultants for liquor license consultation services. Read more

What is the Liquor Control Board of BC?

The Liquor Control Board of BC — officially “B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch” (BCLCLB), is a branch of BC’s Ministry of Justice, and is responsible for issuing liquor licenses for:

  • Pubs, bars, lounges, nightclubs, restaurants, and private liquor stores
  • Manufacturers of liquor including breweries, distilleries and wineries
  • UBrews and UVins that sell customers the ingredients and equipment to make beer, wine, cider and coolers
  • Special occasions

Read more

Outsource Your BC Liquor Licence Application to Rising Tide Consultants

Do what you do best and outsource the rest. — Tom Peters, author and speaker on business management practices.

What, exactly, is outsourcing?

Outsourcing definition: The contracting or subcontracting of noncore activities to free up cash, personnel, time, and facilities for activities in which a company holds competitive advantage.


How does this work for BC liquor manufacturers and retailers?

Preparing liquor licensing applications and creating product and retail proposals both require expertise and knowledge of government regulations, deadlines, and expectations. It makes sense then, that outsourcing the LDB listing application process to experts not only allows you to focus on your core mission — providing high-quality products and services to your customers — but also saves you time and money. Read more

Rising Tide’s Newest Team Member Specializes in BC Liquor Licence Application Services

We’re happy to announce that we’ve added a new member to our liquor licensing team! Kimberly Flint joined us on April 1, 2016, and specializes in working with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB), and oversees the registration of SKUs (store keeping units or barcodes) for manufacturers. Read more