September 21, 2017

As members know, this spring the federal government introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis by July 1, 2018.

While the federal government will legalize cannabis, it is up to individual provinces to set up and regulate retail cannabis distribution systems. In advance of the July 1st deadline, provinces have started to release their distribution plans.

Ontario: the first province to release a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational cannabis when legalized. The Liberal government announced that it will sell cannabis in up to 150 dedicated stores run by the province’s liquor control board. Residents 19 years or older will be able to purchase cannabis at separate retail outlets or through a website run by the LCBO.

Alberta: the province conducted public and stakeholder engagements over the summer and is now building the Alberta Cannabis Framework to be released this fall. The NDP government heard wide-ranging options for how retail sales of marijuana should be handled, including allowing new standalone specialized stores, utilizing existing private liquor stores or government-controlled sales.

New Brunswick: the province recently announced it will create a new Crown corporation to oversee sales of recreational marijuana but has not finalized its retail model. Details of the retail model, how and where sales of legalized pot will be carried out, and what the “other entity” will be are to be worked out in the coming months, says Finance Minister Cathy Rogers.

British Columbia: Premier Horgan has long-supported a hybrid model of public and private operations to retail and distribute cannabis, much like the current liquor system. However, at this time the government remains undecided on how it will tax, distribute, and regulate cannabis.

ABLE BC is committed to advocating for the sale of recreational cannabis in BC’s liquor stores. To strengthen our advocacy efforts, the Alliance has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). We are working with the BCGEU to advance the sale of recreational cannabis in BC’s government and private liquor stores.

ABLE BC will share more details with members as they become available. For more information on the other provinces’ progress, see this article by the Chronicle Herald.

Don’t miss our panel discussion on recreational cannabis at the BC Liquor Conference on October 23rd. Visit the conference website for more details and to register.

To learn more about the policy issues ABLE BC is advocating for download our new Member Handbook.

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