There was speculation that British Columbia in Canada will only allow recreational or adult-use cannabis to be sold alongside alcohol at government-operated liquor stores.
On Monday, the B.C. government has finally released its cannabis regulations, effectively putting to rest all speculations relating to how the legalization of recreational cannabis will go about in the province.
Here are the relevant provisions of its newly released recreational cannabis regulations:
Private retailers are allowed to apply for cannabis licenses
British Columbia’s cannabis regulations stipulate that persons aged 19 years old and above can purchase recreational cannabis from private retailers, urban centers, and government-run shops across the province. Private retailers, however, must first secure a license to sell.
The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will be the government body in charge of issuing licenses to private weed retailers and of monitoring the cannabis retail sector.
The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, meanwhile, will open a new independent network of public cannabis retail stores. It will also be the one managing online sales.
Moreover, private retail stores will be allowed in urban areas, but their retail activity is going to be limited. For one, licensed private retailers won’t be allowed to sell cannabis in the same stores that sell tobacco or liquor. They also won’t be able to sell other products like food, clothing, gas, and lottery tickets in the space they sell cannabis.
The B.C. government will not license sellers without the support of the local governments.
The government did not specify a cap on the total number of licenses they will be granting private retailers. However, it will not license sellers without the support of the local governments. This means that local governments will have a say and will have the power to make decisions depending on the needs of their communities.
As for the rural communities, the government will rely mainly on LDB stores. The rules pertanining to these rural communities, however, remain slightly unclear. The B.C. government’s announcement noted that the criteria for determining the rural areas are still under development.
Possession and smoking of recreational cannabis
Aside from the cannabis retail regulations, the B.C. government also released rules for cannabis use after recreational legalization. Adults who are 19 years old and above may possess up to 30 grams of pot in a public place. They can also smoke in public spaces where cigarette smoking and vaping are allowed, but not in places where children are usually present, such as parks, playgrounds, and community beaches.
B.C. also said that local governments have the authority to set additional restrictions with regard to smoking, just as they already do for tobacco use. Moreover, landlords and strata councils have the authority to prohibit or restrict recreational cannabis smoking and vaping at strata and tenanted properties.
B.C. said that local governments have the authority to set additional restrictions
Cannabis use in vehicles, transportation of cannabis, and driving while drug-impaired
Also under the newly released guidelines, the use of cannabis inside cars or vehicles is prohibited and cannabis should be placed inside a sealed package where it can be inaccessible to those inside the vehicle during transport.
Moreover, the province said it is implementing a 90-day driving ban for those caught driving while drug-impaired. Additionally, there will be a zero-tolerance cannabis policy for individuals who are learning how to drive.
Growing cannabis plants
Up to four cannabis plants can be grown per household, provided that these said cannabis plants are not visible from public spaces off the private property. Cannabis plants also cannot be grown in properties or in houses that are used as daycare centers. Landlords and strata councils have the discretion to prohibit home growing in their property.