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B.C. releases first decisions on cannabis regulation after public engagement

The government said B.C. still has a number of key decisions to make as it prepares for the legalization of cannabis.

British Columbians have spoken.

After considering input from 48,951 British Columbians, and submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments and a range of other interested stakeholders, the Province has announced a number of key decisions related to the anticipated legalization of non-medical cannabis in July 2018.

“Looking at the responses received, it’s clear that British Columbians support the priorities of protecting young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe, which will guide the Province in developing B.C.’s regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a media release Tuesday.

The following policy decisions were shaped by the feedback provided by those who participated in the engagement:

Minimum age

  • British Columbia will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19 years old.  A minimum age of 19 is consistent with B.C.’s minimum age for alcohol and tobacco and with the age of majority in B.C. 

 Wholesale distribution of cannabis

  • Like other provinces, B.C. will have a government-run wholesale distribution model. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C.

Retail of cannabis

  • The Province anticipates establishing a retail model that includes both public and private retail opportunities and will share details regarding the model in early 2018. 

The government media release said from Sept. 25 to Nov. 1, 2017, the public and stakeholders were asked to share their input and expertise on a range of issues related to the regulation of non-medical cannabis in B.C., including minimum age, personal possession, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, wholesale distribution and retail models.

Furthermore, the policy decisions announced Tuesday reflect the feedback received from the local government members of the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) and are endorsed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities executive.

“We thank all British Columbians who provided their input during the important public and stakeholder engagement process,” said Farnworth.

“We will continue to consider your opinions as we further develop policy and legislation that is in the best interests of this province, ensuring a made-in-B.C. approach to the legalization of non-medical cannabis that will keep our roads and communities safe, protect young people, and promote public health and safety.”

The government said B.C. still has a number of key decisions to make as it prepares for the legalization of cannabis. These decisions will be informed by the feedback collected through the public and stakeholder engagement, and on-going consultation with local and Indigenous governments and other key stakeholders.