Province releases plans for legalized marijuana

Wednesday, 07 Feb, 2018

Public and private retailers will have similar operating rules.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said it was a risk establishing rules for cannabis stores ahead of provincial and federal legislation, but that decision has put the city "ahead of the curve".

"We still believe strongly that our members have a lot of experience retailing controlled substances in age-controlled environments", said Jeff Guignard, executive director of B.C.'s Alliance of Beverage Licensees which represents private liquor stores, pubs and hotels.

"This in addition to the measures that are being introduced by the federal government, and we're eager to hear more from them on that front".

Public and private non-medical cannabis retail stores will be allowed to sell dried cannabis, cannabis oils that comply with federal requirements and seeds.

Local governments will have veto power that will give them the authority to make local decisions, based on the needs of their communities.

Privately-run cannabis stores can not brand themselves as a "pharmacy" "apothecary" or "dispensary" or use other words related to the selling of medicine.

According to the minister, the first non-medical marijuana retailers will likely open their doors in "late summer".

LCLB will be launching an application portal for individuals and businesses interested in applying for a private non-medical cannabis retail licence in spring 2018. "I think that is an ideal situation".

How much will I be able grow at home? . "I can only sell it to all my competition and that seems like a very odd provision to me", he said.

Drug-impaired driving will continue to be illegal and the province is going to increase training for police in this area. Adults may have cannabis in their vehicles, but only if the cannabis in a sealed package or somewhere inaccessible to you and other occupants of the vehicle.

Any use of cannabis is banned for all vehicle occupants.

Those caught high behind the wheel will be given a 90-day prohibition.

The current zero-tolerance restrictions for the presence of alcohol for drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) will be expanded to include zero tolerance for the presence of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. It will also toughen regulations to prevent drug-impaired driving and remove impaired drivers from the road.

It's unclear, however, what methods or technology law enforcement will use to apprehend drug-impaired drivers.

When it comes to personal public possession limits, the Province says adults aged 19 and older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of non-medical cannabis in a public place. Smoking will be allowed "in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted", although not in places frequented by children "including community beaches, parks and playgrounds".

Adults will be allowed to grow four cannabis plants per household, but they can not be visible from public spaces off the property.

Local officials will be able to impose further restrictions on pot consumption and cultivation, as will landlords and strata councils, based largely on the same rules that now apply to tobacco use. These stores may also sell cannabis accessories, as defined in the proposed federal Cannabis Act, such as rolling papers, holders, pipes, bongs, etc. Cannabis edibles are expected to be available within 12 months of legalization, as determined by the federal government.