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.

BC legislaturemarijuana

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Four ride hailing applications rejected by Transportation Safety Board in Okanagan

Decision means Kabu Ride is still only company to be approved for ride hailing in region

Multi-vehicle collision creates congestion along Harvey Ave in Kelowna

Accident occurred at approximately 4:50 p.m on Friday

Tess Critchlow: Local snowboarder represents Big White on the national stage

She competed in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018

GoFundMe launched to help Kelowna girl who battles mysterious migraines

Greta Friesen has been battling reoccurring migraines for last three and a half years

Tamara McLellan: Creating the next generation of female entrepreneurs

She is the executive director of Her International

It’s Treat Week at Kelowna’s BC SPCA branch

Get some treats and meet some furry friends

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Developer of RV resort west of Revelstoke ordered to stop selling lots

The Superintendent of Real Estate has serious concerns that buyers may not receive their purchase

North Okanagan prays for women of Zimbabwe

World Day of Prayer celebrated in 2,000 Canadian communities, one of 170 countries

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Trans Canada east of Revelstoke to be closed overnight

The highway will reopen at 10 a.m. Feb. 29

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Local vocal talents sought for Okanagan stage

Okangan Singer-Songwriter Competition auditions underway

Most Read