Recreational marijuana sales become legal across Canada Oct. 17, but stores must have a provincial and local licence. (Black Press files)

B.C.’s marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

Province has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

Some private marijuana dispensaries in B.C. are shutting down until they get licensed under the legalization framework that takes effect Wednesday, and “that’s the right thing to do,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.

Farnworth announced Monday that the province has received 173 paid applications for private cannabis retailers, and has sent 62 of them on to local government or Indigenous nation for final assent before they can legally sell marijuana.

The Liquor Distribution Branch will open online sales on Oct. 17, but only one bricks-and-mortar store in Kamloops is ready to go, with municipal approval expected in time for the federal government’s legalization to begin.

Private store applications have to go through extensive background and security checks to make sure they aren’t linked to organized crime gangs that have controlled much of the street sales of marijuana.

Farnworth said a lot of work has gone into ensuring the online system is ready for the new reality of legal marijuana, which Canada is the second country after Uruguay to make legal nation-wide. The province signed deals with 32 federally licensed producers in July, and was planning to have 150 strains of cannabis available through its monopoly wholesale and online sales.

Of the 62 applications given provincial approval, 35 are in jurisdictions that have indicated that they are “ready” to licence stores, Farnworth says. Most communities are prepared to have a mix of public and private cannabis stores.

At least one municipality, Osoyoos, has indicated it wants no government store. Richmond council has indicated it will not licence any marijuana stores. And in places where dispensaries have operated with or without local business licences, some have begun to shut down until they have approval to reopen with government-approved suppliers.

“A number of stores have indicated that they want to become legal, and many are taking steps to make sure they have that ability, by applying and by recognizing that it’s probably in their interest to shut down their operations,” Farnworth said. “There have been other stores that have indicated they really don’t care what the rules are.”

Customers will be in possession of illegal marijuana if they buy from an unlicensed store as of Wednesday, but Farnworth said enforcement will be up to the police in each jurisdiction.

“As more and more legal stores open, enforcement will ramp up,” he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

Building a better learning environment for B.C. students

Minister’s message for Education Week, April 23-27

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Most Read