With the legalization of cannabis in Canada a go this Wednesday, October 17, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is advising cannabis dispensaries that are currently operating without a license in the province to close up shop – if they hope to eventually become legal.
“A number of stores have indicated that they want to become legal and many of them I know are taking steps to ensure that they have that ability by applying and by recognizing that it’s probably in their interest to shut down their [current] operations,” Farnworth said on Monday.
He noted that as it currently stands, a single store in Kamloops (along with the online portal) is the only store that will legally be allowed to open its doors to the public on Wednesday, but that more are expected in the near future.
“Right now we have a 173 applications that are being reviewed,” he said. “Of those applications, 62 have been found to be complete and submitted to local government for their consideration.”
Farnworth said he expects people will see more stores opening up in the months ahead.
Last month, the minister said that as the legalization date draws closer, keeping cannabis out of reach of children and youth is a top priority.
“We’ve set the minimum age for possession at 19, prohibited cannabis smoking and vaping in areas where children and youth commonly gather (like sports fields, skate parks, schools, provincial, regional and municipal parks and playgrounds), and banned youth under 19 from entering cannabis stores, even with an adult,” he said.
Bootlegging, or selling cannabis to minors, will continue to be a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail.