Legalization – Part 2
Legalization in British Columbia
In British Columbia, as of February 2018, people are approaching to an eligibility to start opening private retail and getting a license for the selling of non-medical cannabis. The people who are eligible are all applicants who will go through background checks of criminal/police records and need to obtain local government support.
In terms of rules and regulation, it will most likely be the same as how the liquor store would operate. The public and private retailers will have similar operating rules. People who are considering applying for a provincial license to retail non-medical cannabis will be provided with information to help with making business decisions and the application process. This guide will not only help the retailer but the government in preparation for potential retail store applications.
As soon as the application portal opens, the applicants may start the process by entering information and documents that are part of the requirements. It will help you to be prepared with your documents so that you can begin as soon as the applicable legislation is passed. B.C. will be conducting reviews of applicants thoroughly to ensure that the licensed retailers will operate in a lawful manner and safe for both retailer and consumer. In order to process a significant number of applications as efficiently as possible, the province is constructing plans for it to be put in place. Each applicant will be required to pay an application fee and a licensing fee, but the government has not determined the amount of the fees yet.
In terms of eligibility, if the applicant operated an illegal dispensary prior to legalization, it does not mean that this fact on its own will exclude the applicant from being considered for a license. All of the applicants will be considered using the same evaluation criteria, including background checks and local government support. Also, if the applicant does have a criminal record, it will not necessarily exclude the applicant from obtaining a license. The background check will be examined on a case-by-case basis and evaluated in relation to the recentness of the activity committed and their relevance to the application.
All retailers who are interested in distributing non-medical cannabis must apply for the retail license regardless of whether or not the retailer already have a liquor and/or tobacco license. Also, if the retailers are already owning liquor and/or tobacco store, it is a requirement to operate the non-medical retail cannabis store in a completely separate business location. If the retailer has an interest in becoming both a federally licensed producer or processor and a licensed retailer, the LCLB will place restrictions in order to prohibited the selling of its products to the retail if there is a close association between the two parties. The reason for enforcing a restriction over this is to ensure that the market remains diverse and that larger participants will not associated and control the market.
There are other information regarding the requirements needed for the application and general operational details. The additional application required information are, supplying the related documents and names of partners, shareholders, directors, officers, and/or senior management. The applicants will also need to provide the parcel identifier number (PID), proof of ownership or a copy of a fully executed lease that does not expire for at least 12 months from the date of license approval, and a floor plan of the store. The province will not enforce the exact distance requirements for non-medical cannabis retailers, but the local governments will have the power to enforce those additional requirements. That being said, the retailer should inquire with the local government about the requirements before choosing and committing to a location. In terms of the store name, it must be approved by the LCLB and cannot be misleading as to what type of business you operate. It would not pass the approval if non-medical cannabis retailers were to name their store something that would lead people to believe that they are the provider of medical cannabis.
Another big question people are having now is how the law enforcement is going to deal with driving while consuming or has consumed marijuana, since there is no test that is fast and accurate enough to measure it. There is however, a law implemented for people who are driving high as for them to be prohibited from driving for 90 days. Also, people who are transporting marijuana in their vehicle must keep it seal and out of reach.