B.C.’s Cannabis Retail Store Handbook Outlines Onerous Requirements on Private Retailers

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Earlier today, British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (“LCRB”) notified the public that it had published a Cannabis Retail Store License Terms and Conditions Handbook.

The purpose of the Cannabis Retail Store Handbook is to outline the requirements of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, Regulations and terms and conditions that relate to owners and operators of non-medical cannabis retail stores in B.C.  In so doing, the Handbook provides a concise example of the onerous requirements that private retailers will have to meet when operating their establishments, some of which are sure to raise a few eyebrows.

Examples include:

  • completion of a mandatory course by all people involved in the sale of non-medical cannabis;
  • an obligation to prominently display social responsibility materials created by the provincial government within the store;
  • if there is any doubt whether a customer is 19 or over, an obligation exists on the retailer to demand two pieces of identification from that person;
  • an obligation to ensure that no weapons are brought into the store without lawful excuse;
  • an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent disturbances, examples of which include supervising parking areas and posting signs asking patrons not to disturb the neighbours;
  • an obligation to remove persons who are intoxicated or show signs of intoxication and ensure that the person departs safely;
  • an obligation to notify a peace officer immediately if any disorderly conduct is taking place in the store;
  • a requirement to log incidents where someone is refused entry at the door, the removal of an intoxicated person or an injury or accident occurs and to keep the log for at least six years;
  • a requirement to produce the licensee’s LCRB approved floor plans immediately upon request;
  • a requirement to keep invoices and purchase receipts for all equipment and other (non-cannabis) inventory that is used in the operation of the store for six years;
  • a requirement to keep employee records, including names, addresses, salaries and shift schedules for six years;
  • a prohibition on the use of a name or other visual identifier (e.g. trademarks) of another business;
  • a prohibition on joint advertisements between the retailer and any other business;
  • a prohibition on operating a customer loyalty or gift card program;
  • a requirement that all customers must be assisted by a store employee;
  • a requirement that all cannabis and cannabis accessories must be displayed in a way that they are not accessible to customers;
  • an obligation to maintain a detailed cannabis register relating to all purchases and sales for a period of six years and to make the register available for inspection at all times;
  • a prohibition on selling snacks, or any item not related to cannabis;
  • an obligation to encourage patrons still in the store at 11 p.m. (the latest a store can be open by law) to make purchases as quickly as possible;
  • a prohibition on selling cannabis at a price lower than the retailer paid to acquire the cannabis from the Liquor Distribution Branch; and
  • a prohibition on games and entertainment being allowed within the store.

In addition to setting out the rules and obligations imposed on running the retail location itself, the Cannabis Retail Store Handbook also discusses the retailer’s relationship with licensed producers.  Of note in this section are prohibitions on accepting inducements (in a variety of forms), product samples and product vouchers from producers.  Also of note is the explicit permission given for retailers to attend educational events or other activities hosted by a licensed producer or marketer and to accept certain expenses from licensed producers or marketers for items such as travel, meals, accommodation and entertainment expenses, up to certain stipulated annual amounts.


Photo courtesy of the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch


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