The BC Liquor Distribution Branch is poised to open a new network of public retail stores for selling recreational cannabis, and will also manage online sales. The existing recreational cannabis stores in BC will be allowed to keep their businesses as well.
The provincial government in British Columbia has announced yesterday that legal adults will be able to buy recreational cannabis in a variety of places all over the province.
So far, the government has confirmed that the current cannabis infrastructure will be one of the pillars upon which the system will be built, adding to it the additional LDB retail stores as well as online sales.
Seeing how online sales will not be present in many other provinces, with the possible exception of Ontario, this is a huge step up for cannabis supporters in Canada.
Ontario will have a slightly different plan from BC, since its recreational cannabis will be sold entirely and only through government-owned and operated stores, while online sales will be overseen by LCBO.
One province that is taking an entirely different approach is Saskatchewan, allowing private sales of recreational cannabis both on the ground and online.
The B.C. government has not yet announced the number of stores it plans on opening, however, this only means that there isn’t a cap on the number so we could expect several dozens of stores popping up across the province.
Little access for rural communities
One of the main questions raised after the announcement was made is the number of stores in rural areas that are not heavily populated and currently don’t have an existing infrastructure at all.
According to the press release, there will be certain criteria which need to be filled in order for the BCLDB to open stores in the area:
“The BC government … will establish exceptions for rural non-medical cannabis retail stores, similar to those of rural liquor stores. The criteria for determining these rural areas are currently under development.”
One thing is certain for rural communities, access to high-quality cannabis and high THC strains will never be the same as before with these stores.
The British Columbia government also pointed out that further restrictions may be brought by the communities and local governments, similar to how they are allowed to impose further restrictions on the sales of tobacco.
One of the main issues brought up in the past few weeks was what will happen to the renters if landlords suddenly decide to ban smoking on their property.
“Local governments will be able to set additional restrictions, as they do now for tobacco use. In addition, landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking and vaping at tenanted and strata properties,” the government said.
Similar to other provinces, cannabis users in BC will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams, and the police will introduce strict penalties for those caught driving high.
Cannabis use in vehicles will not be allowed, and marijuana will have to be stored in a sealed package, or “inaccessible to vehicle occupants,” when it’s being transported, which means you will probably have to keep it in the trunk.