The day has come, and cannabis is legal in Canada. But what does it all mean for your liquor business? “It will take many months – and likely years – before all questions about consumption, public use, impairment, and licensing of this newly legal substance are fully answered,” according to Alliance of Beverage Licensees BC (ABLE BC), an industry advocate. “In the meantime, public education and clarity around how we’re transitioning out of the black market will be vitally important.” Rising Tide will be staying up-to-date with the changing landscape to keep its clients informed. For now, here’s ABLE BC’s list of what cannabis legalization means for your liquor business today: Where can people consume? In general, the rules for consuming cannabis in public mirror the rules for consuming tobacco. For example, citizens will be free to consume cannabis on public sidewalks, but not on any sidewalk/boulevard adjacent to a school property. Smoking/vaping is also banned in municipal, regional, and provincial parks, except for designated campsites. You are also not allowed to smoke or vape within six metres of doorways, windows, air intakes of public buildings, bus stops, or bus shelters. Smoking or vaping is prohibited in vehicles, as well as in indoor public places-except in a designated room at assisted living or retirement facilities or hospitals; or in a hotel room by registered guests (the hotel may choose to prohibit). Click here to read more about here you can smoke pot. Can customers consume on my licensed patio? No, it is illegal to consume cannabis on a patio that is open to the public. Even if your patio is licensed to permit tobacco smoking, cannabis consumption remains prohibited. Do I have to have a designated smoking area for cannabis? No. Although cannabis is legal, you are under no obligation to allow consumption on your property. If you already have a smoking area, ABLE BC strongly recommends you do not allow smoking/vaping of cannabis in this area. It is currently unclear how consumption of cannabis could impact a licensee’s potential liability or duty of care to a patron if you allow them to consume cannabis in your property while you are also serving them alcohol. See also: Study suggests majority of Canadians worry about drug-impaired driving For a detailed discussion of this issue, you can attend the BC Liquor Conference on Oct. 29 in Vancouver for Lorne Folick’s presentation, “Recreational Cannabis is Legal – Now what? Strategies to manage cannabis related risks.” If you have a designated smoking area, ABLE BC recommends posting a sign to clearly indicate smoking or vaping cannabis is strictly prohibited on your property. Do I need to update my house and employment policies? Yes, your employment and house policies need to be updated to include cannabis. ABLE BC says it will have sample house, employment, and due diligence policies available soon. Also, just because cannabis is legal does not mean your employees are allowed to smoke/vape at work. As with alcohol, you can and should prohibit employees from consuming at work. Will Serving It Right need to be updated? Yes. The new version is being launched on Oct. 17 and will incorporate new material covering potential changes to risk and duty of care, as well as information on how to detect visible signs of intoxication from patrons who have consumed cannabis. Employees are not required to re-certify in SIR, but ABLE BC recommends that they do. They will have to re-certify in a year or so anyway, and cannabis legalization is a good reason for your team to bone up on the principles of responsible beverage service. ABLE BC is offering the following resources: Download “No On-Site Consumption of Cannabis” sign Register for BC Liquor Conference and attend Lorne Folick’s seminar on “Recreational Cannabis is Legal – Now what? Strategies to manage cannabis related risks” ABLE BC says it will be expanding to accept licensed retailers of cannabis as members, in addition to working to ensure its liquor licensee members are well-prepared for how cannabis can impact businesses. Visit for more. See also: Canada has 2,895 liquor stores, but just 288 cannabis stores expected by year’s end
Source: Rising Tide Consultants

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