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 https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/cannabis 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.