February 05, 2018

The Provincial Government has just released preliminary details of how legal, adult-use recreational cannabis will be retailed in BC:

“British Columbians of legal age will be able to purchase non-medical cannabis through privately run retail stories or government-operated retail stores and government online sales. BC’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will operate a new standalone network of public retail stores and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) will be responsible for licensing private stores and monitoring the retail sector.”

 Unfortunately, government did not accept our recommendation to co-locate cannabis and alcohol sales – despite there being no evidence that selling cannabis and alcohol alongside one another encourages or facilitates co-use:

“The operating rules governing public and private retail stores will be similar to those currently in place for liquor. However, to promote responsible use, licensed retailers will not be able to sell cannabis in the same stores as liquor or tobacco.” Exceptions may apply for rural non-medical cannabis retail stores, similar to those of rural liquor stores.

For more information on possession limits, places of use, and personal cultivation, download the full news release here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PSSG0006-000151


While we are obviously disappointed with the decision to deny co-location of cannabis and liquor, we are pleased that government will permit standalone cannabis retail stores to be located adjacent to BC’s liquor outlets.

Government has also made it clear that they want to ensure local governments determine how non-medical cannabis is sold inside their borders. ABLE BC remains eager to work with our municipal partners to ensure cannabis is retailed safely and responsibly by experienced retailers in age-controlled environments.

On behalf of our members, ABLE BC will be contacting all municipalities to ensure they know that BC’s liquor retailers are well-suited to help guide the regulation of non-medical cannabis. Our decades of experience retailing a controlled substance safely, proven track record of enforcing age-controlled environments, and demonstrated history of complying with a rigorous enforcement and inspection regime should be taken into account during the cannabis retail license application process:

“This spring, the Province will launch an early registration process for individuals and businesses who are interested in applying for a cannabis retail license. Although BC will not cap the number of retail licenses available, licenses will not be issued without the support of local governments, which will have the authority to make local decisions based on the needs of their communities.”

For more information on the retail framework and FAQ for potential applicants, download the Cannabis Private Retail Licensing Guide here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Cannabis_Private_Retail_Licensing_Guide.pdf

What’s Next

Uncertainty remains as federal regulations must be put in place before provincial and municipal rules are finalized. The Provincial Government plans to introduce legislation in the spring legislative session to affect the above policy decisions.
The province will launch an online application portal in spring 2018. If you want to retail non-medical cannabis, it is important to start planning now:
  • Find a potential location for your non-medical cannabis retail store and get landlord support. During the provincial application process, you will be required to provide the parcel identifier number, proof of ownership or a copy of a fully executed lease that does not expire for at least 12 months from the date of license approval, and a floor plan.
  • Begin discussions with your local government. Check to ensure that you meet any criteria that are specific to your jurisdiction and to ensure that proper zoning is in place, before committing to a retail location.
We will be able to offer further advice to members as more details become clear from the provincial and federal governments.

Free Webinar: Tuesday, February 13 at 10:00 am

Join ABLE BC for a free one hour webinar on Tuesday, February 13th at 10:00 am PST. We will answer any questions you have about the cannabis retail framework and how interested retailers can prepare for the provincial cannabis retail application process, opening up this spring.

Sign-up here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6791147151671939329 If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact ABLE BC at 604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.

Join the fight! Become a member today.


Our Partners