Highlights of B.C.’s New Cannabis Regulations

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On October 6th, the British Columbia government released its regulations for cannabis legalization. Three new regulations were released under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (the “Act”): 1) Cannabis Licensing Regulation; 2) Cannabis Control Regulation; and 3) Cannabis Control and Licensing Transitional Regulation. The government also released amendments to existing regulations.

This post will cover highlights of the Cannabis Licensing Regulation and the Cannabis Control Regulation, which will be discussed in more detail in the days to come.

Cannabis Licensing Regulation

Two Classes of Licences Established

Two classes of licences will be available to applicants: (1) Retail Store Licence; and (2) Marketing Licence.

A Retail Store Licence authorizes the licensee to sell cannabis from the retail store to customers and, if approved by the General Manager, to a licensee who holds another retail store licence. The General Manager is appointed under the Public Service Act and is responsible for the general administration of the Act and regulations. The regulation sets out a significant number of general rules and requirements that apply to a Retail Store Licence.  The full particulars of which will be detailed in a subsequent post on our blog.

A Marketing Licence authorizes the licensee to: (i) promote cannabis for the purpose of selling it; (ii) solicit, receive and take orders for the sale or purchase of cannabis; and (iii) act as an agent for the sale or purchase of cannabis.

Role of the Security Manager

The regulation authorizes a Security Manager to carry out investigations and background checks. The Security Manager works with the General Manager to determine whether an applicant is deemed “fit and proper”, which is a requirement in order for a licence to be issued, renewed, transferred or amended. In determining whether an applicant or licensee is “fit and proper”, the Security Manger may conduct background checks and investigations, including criminal record checks, and checks of intelligence databases.

Record-Keeping Requirements

Licensees must comply with record-keeping requirements, which must be kept six years from the creation of the records during the term of the licence and any renewals, as well as for six months after the licence expires or is cancelled. The regulation sets out quite an extensive list of records that a retail store licensee must keep, including sales records and fights or disturbances occurring on or next to the store. Marketing licensees must also keep certain records, such as records of cannabis-related events that they have attended.

Minimum Cannabis Prices

A licensee is not permitted to sell cannabis that the licensee purchased from the government for a price that is lower than the price the licensee paid to the government for the cannabis.

Don’t Open the Package or Consume Cannabis in Cannabis Retail Stores

Patrons are not allowed to open the original packaging of cannabis in retail stores. Retailers are only permitted to open the original packaging of cannabis to allow patrons to smell the cannabis, or for another purpose approved by the General Manager. Once the cannabis packaging is opened, the cannabis may not be sold to customers. Unsurprisingly, the regulation also prohibits the consumption of cannabis in retail stores.

Fees

The regulation also sets out in detail the fees that are payable in connection with licenses, which include, among other things, $7,500 to apply for a Retail Store License, $500 to apply for a Marketing License and annual fees for each license of $1,500 and $200 respeceively.

Cannabis Control Regulation

Maximum possession limit

The maximum allowable amount of cannabis has been set at 1,000 grams of dried cannabis, or equivalent, for non-public places, such as in a home. As set out in the Act, if two or more people occupy the same location and the amount of cannabis at the location exceeds the maximum limit, each person is deemed to have contravened the maximum possession limit.

Don’t Promote Cannabis Lounges

It is illegal to advertise, market or promote any place as a place to consume cannabis or to spend time after consuming cannabis.

Public Consumption of Non-Medical Cannabis

The regulation sets out a wide-ranging array of rules for public consumption of non-medical cannabis as well as rules around the consumption of medical cannabis.  The rules cover smoking and vaping of cannabis in various locations, including indoor and outdoor public places, vehicles, boats and hotels. For hotels, a registered hotel guest may smoke or vape cannabis in the room or a designated building, subject to the hotel’s discretion to prohibit the consumption of cannabis.  Full particulars of the consumption rules will be detailed in a subsequent blog post.

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