BC Non-Medical Cannabis Retail Licensing
With the legalization of non-medical marijuana, various governments at the provincial and local level are drafting regulations, policies and bylaws that will cannabis retail licensing in BC. While the BC government has created a framework for retail non-medical cannabis, recent decisions from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has clarified cannabis private retail licensing is open to anyone to apply for a license. They are now working on the details of the legislation, regulation and policies. The government of British Columbia has also decided that cannabis must be retailed in a separate retail store rather than located in a liquor store (i.e. a separate store with a dedicated entry).
Who Can Apply for a Non-Medical Cannabis Retail License in BC?
Individuals and businesses may apply for a BC cannabis retail license. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Complete an online application and include the required documents.
- Provide proof of ownership, or copy of a fully executed lease, of your proposed location that does not expire for 12 months from the date of license approval.
- A floor plan of the proposed retail store.
- Undergo a criminal record check.
- Obtain local government support for the land use as a cannabis retail store.
How Can I Apply for a Cannabis Private Retail License in BC?
An online application portal for individuals and businesses interested in applying for a non-medical cannabis license in BC will open in the spring of 2018. The specific date has not yet been announced.
Applicants will be required to pay an application and licensing fee. The fee has not yet been determined.
How long will it take to process an application?
The BC government expects many applicants once the application portal is open. Each application will be subject to a thorough review. The government is putting plans in place to process BC cannabis license applications as efficiently as possible.
For updates on retail cannabis licensing, fees and the application process, visit the Non-Medical Cannabis Retail License page.
Can I Sell Cannabis if I Already Have a BC Retail Liquor Store License?
No. Your current liquor retail license (or tobacco license) does not allow you to sell cannabis in your retail store. You must apply for a separate non-medical cannabis retail license. If a retail cannabis license is granted, your non-medical cannabis retail store must operate in a separate location from your retail liquor or tobacco sales, although there will be exceptions for rural stores (as is currently the case with rural liquor stores).
The BC government is considering security requirements. BC cannabis retailers will have a strong incentive to secure their premises and inventory. Local government may also impose their own security requirements.
Mandatory Training Requirement
The BC government will likely develop a mandatory training program that all non-medical cannabis retailers, managers and employees must take and pass to work in a licensed cannabis retail establishment. This will be similar to Serving It Right for liquor sales and service. Employees will also have to register with the government and undertake a background check.
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) will be the sole legal source of wholesale non-medical cannabis. BC’s licensed cannabis retailers will not be permitted to purchase cannabis from any other source, including licensed cannabis producers.
Considering Applying for a BC Non-Medical Cannabis Retail License?
If you are interested in a non-medical cannabis retail opportunity, please contact us. We’ll help you understand the issues and provide consulting services.