With just over a week to go until legalization, the BC government has said that “new and amended regulations” are now in place “to support British Columbia’s legal cannabis regime and prioritize the health and safety of British Columbians.”
In a release, the government said the that under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the regulation replaces the July 2018 Interim Licensing Regulation and sets out two classes of licences: retail store licences and marketing licences.
It authorizes the security manager to carry out investigations as well as background checks and sets out general rules and requirements with respect to licences.
The government said the regulation also establishes the framework for compliance and enforcement, including the schedule for administrative monetary penalties and suspensions for non-compliance by licensees. It also prohibits the opening of cannabis or consumption of cannabis in licenced retail stores and government cannabis stores.
Under the law, a maximum possession limit of 1,000 grams of dried cannabis, or equivalent has been set for non-public places, such as in a home.
Illegal retailers are prohibited from advertising themselves as a licensed retailer and no one is allowed to advertise themselves as “as a location to consume cannabis or to go after consuming cannabis.”
Where cannabis can and can’t be used
The government also revealed a list of rules where cannabis can and can’t be consumed. They include:
- No smoking or vaping in indoor public places, except in a designated room at assisted living or retirement facilities or hospitals; or in a hotel room by registered guests (the hotel may choose to prohibit);
- No smoking or vaping of cannabis within six metres of doorways, windows, air intakes of public buildings, bus stops or bus shelters;
- No smoking or vaping of cannabis on public patios;
- No use of cannabis on any sidewalks/boulevards adjacent to a school property under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. Note that the consumption of non-medical cannabis in any form in or on school property is prohibited;
- No smoking or vaping of cannabis in regional and municipal parks, except for designated campsites;
- No smoking or vaping of cannabis in provincial parks, except in designated smoking areas or as authorized by a park officer;
- No use of cannabis on boats, except when in an assigned enclosed cabin on a commercially operated boat (the operator may still prohibit); on a boat with sleeping accommodations, kitchen facilities and a toilet when moored or anchored;
- No cannabis use in vehicles, except in motorhomes or other motor vehicles, or campers, or trailers when parked off a public road or forest service road where camping is allowed and when being used as a private residence.
Sets out which contraventions of the regulation are offences and the associated
Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the regulation makes the provincial possession and personal cultivation limits for medical cannabis consistent with the federal regulations.
It also prohibits operating a cannabis delivery service, unless otherwise authorized, and prohibits any person from using any brand element that could indicate they are associated with government or are exercising a function of government.
Under the Offence Act, this amendment creates provincial violation tickets for offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, most of which will be consistent with existing liquor or tobacco tickets, such as smoking cannabis in a prohibited place ($230) and vaping in a prohibited place ($58).
It also allows violation tickets to be issued for offences as an alternative to prosecution.
For those in the great outdoors, park rangers and conservation officers will be authorized to issue cannabis-related violation tickets for certain offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, similar to the way they can issue tickets for liquor-related offences under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.
How cannabis will be taxed provincially
The 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will apply to all cannabis sales – both medical and non-medical in British Columbia.
This includes the sale of:
- Fresh or dried cannabis
- Cannabis oils, such as capsules tinctures and topical products
- Cannabis plants or cannabis seeds
- Cannabis products marketed for pets
- Soap or bath products containing cannabis
The PST also applies to cannabis accessories and their parts, such as rolling papers, grinders, holders, pipes, vaporizers, batteries and lighters. That said, there are exemptions for approved prescription drugs containing cannabis derivatives and foods containing hemp.
Retailers must register for PST with the Ministry of Finance and get a cannabis retail store licence from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
Licensed retailers will not pay PST on cannabis and cannabis accessories they purchase for resale but will collect the PST on cannabis and cannabis accessories sold to consumers.
Under an amendment under the Business Number Act, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and Cannabis Distribution Act will be added to the list of designated acts for the purposes of the Business Number Act, to provide consistency in the use of business numbers to identify businesses.
Under the Assessment Act, medical and non-medical cannabis production will continue to be excluded from agricultural uses that qualify for farm classification, other than industrial hemp under the federal Industrial Hemp Regulations.
Legalization is in effect as of October 17, 2018