The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is aiming to open the first government-operated recreational cannabis retail store by late summer, the provincial government announced today.
“We’re excited about planning and building online sales and a new retail network of standalone, public cannabis stores,”said Blain Lawson, LDB’s general manager and CEO. “But it’s important to keep in mind that this won’t happen overnight.”
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Firstly, said Lawson, “we have to establish a wholesale distribution system and prepare its operations for when the federal government is expected to legalize cannabis later this year.”
The rules governing non-medical cannabis retail stores will be similar to those currently in place for liquor retail stores, and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) will be responsible for licensing and monitoring the retail non-medical cannabis sector.
Public and private retailers will have similar operating rules.
LCLB will be launching an application portal for individuals and businesses interested in applying for a private non-medical cannabis retail licence this spring.
Non-medical marijuana retail operations will not be co-located with any other businesses, such as liquor stores or pharmacies.
While there may be future exceptions to this rule when it comes to situations such as more rural locales, the government said that for now, a store selling weed for recreational use must be a self-contained business.
Public and private non-medical cannabis retail stores will be permitted to sell dried cannabis, oils that comply with federal requirements, and seeds.
These stores may also sell accessories, such as rolling papers, holders, pipes, and bongs.
Edibles are expected to be available within 12 months of legalization, as determined by the federal government.