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Regulations ready B.C. for cannabis legalization

The province took another step in preparing for legalization of cannabis.

New and amended regulations are now in place to support British Columbia’s legal cannabis regime and prioritize the health and safety of British Columbians.

This is another step in the work to prepare for the federal legalization of cannabis.

Updates are as follows:

Cannabis Licensing Regulation

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the regulation:

  • Replaces the July 2018 Interim Licensing Regulation.
  • Sets out the two classes of licences: retail store licences and marketing licences.
  • Authorizes the security manager to carry out investigations and background checks.
  • Sets out general rules and requirements with respect to licences.
  • Establishes the framework for compliance and enforcement, including the schedule for administrative monetary penalties and suspensions for non-compliance by licensees.
  • Prohibits the opening of cannabis or consumption of cannabis in licenced retail stores and government cannabis stores.
  • Sets out fees.

Cannabis Control Regulation

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the regulation:

  • Sets a maximum possession limit of 1,000 grams of dried cannabis, or equivalent, for non-public places, such as in a home.
  • Prohibits illegal retailers from advertising themselves as a licensed retailer and prohibits anyone from advertising a place as a location to consume cannabis or to go after consuming cannabis.
  • Provides exemptions for the consumption of medical cannabis on school property and on inter-city buses, trains and boats.
  • Establishes, in conjunction with the rules already established in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, a comprehensive set of rules for the public consumption of non-medical cannabis, including:
    • No smoking or vaping in indoor public places, except in a designated room at assisted living or retirement facilities or hospitals; or in a hotel room by registered guests (the hotel may choose to prohibit);
    • No smoking or vaping of cannabis within six metres of doorways, windows, air intakes of public buildings, bus stops or bus shelters;
    • No smoking or vaping of cannabis on public patios;
    • No use of cannabis on any sidewalks/boulevards adjacent to a school property under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. Note that the consumption of non-medical cannabis in any form in or on school property is prohibited;
    • No smoking or vaping of cannabis in regional and municipal parks, except for designated campsites;
    • No smoking or vaping of cannabis in provincial parks, except in designated smoking areas or as authorized by a park officer;
    • No use of cannabis on boats, except:
      • when in an assigned enclosed cabin on a commercially operated boat (the operator may still prohibit);
      • on a boat with sleeping accommodations, kitchen facilities and a toilet when moored or anchored; and
    • No cannabis use in vehicles, except in motorhomes or other motor vehicles, or campers, or trailers when parked off a public road or forest service road where camping is allowed and when being used as a private residence.
  • Sets out which contraventions of the regulation are offences and the associated penalties upon conviction.

Cannabis Control and Licensing Transitional Regulation

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the regulation:

  • Makes the provincial possession and personal cultivation limits for medical cannabis consistent with the federal regulations.
  • Prohibits operating a cannabis delivery service, unless otherwise authorized, and prohibits any person from using any brand element that could indicate they are associated with government or are exercising a function of government.
  • Sets the penalties upon conviction for contravening a prohibition in this regulation.

Amendment of Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation

Under the Offence Act, this amendment:

  • Creates provincial violation tickets for offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, most of which will be consistent with existing liquor or tobacco tickets, such as smoking cannabis in a prohibited place ($230) and vaping in a prohibited place ($58). 

Allowing violation tickets to be issued for offences as an alternative to prosecution provides an effective deterrent, while also reducing the burden on the Province’s police and courts.

Amendment of Provincial Sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation

Under the Provincial Sales Tax Act, pursuant to this amendment:

  • Provincial sales tax (PST) will apply to all cannabis sales in British Columbia.
  • The 7% PST will apply to both non-medical and medical cannabis sales, which is consistent with the application of the federal GST and generally aligns with other provinces’ regulations.
  • This includes the sale of:
    • Fresh or dried cannabis
    • Cannabis oils, such as capsules tinctures and topical products
    • Cannabis plants or cannabis seeds
    • Cannabis products marketed for pets
    • Soap or bath products containing cannabis
  • The PST also applies to cannabis accessories and their parts, such as rolling papers, grinders, holders, pipes, vaporizers, batteries and lighters.
  • There are exemptions for approved prescription drugs containing cannabis derivatives and foods containing hemp.

Retailers must register for PST with the Ministry of Finance and get a cannabis retail store licence from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Licensed retailers will not pay PST on cannabis and cannabis accessories they purchase for resale, but will collect the PST on cannabis and cannabis accessories sold to consumers.

Amendments to the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation and Conservation Officer Service Authority Regulation

Under the Environmental Management Act and Park Act, these amendments:

  • Authorize park rangers and conservation officers to issue cannabis-related violation tickets for certain offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, similar to the way they can issue tickets for liquor-related offences under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

Amendment of Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Regulation

Under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act, this amendment:

  • Provides exemptions to the restrictions and requirements on the sale, distribution, provision, advertising, promotion or display of vapour products that are also cannabis accessories.

Amendment of Business Number Regulation

Under the Business Number Act, this amendment:

  • Adds the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and Cannabis Distribution Act to the list of designated acts for the purposes of the Business Number Act, to provide consistency in the use of business numbers to identify businesses.

Amendment of Classification of Land as a Farm Regulation

Under the Assessment Act, this amendment:

  • Confirms medical and non-medical cannabis production will continue to be excluded from agricultural uses that qualify for farm classification, other than industrial hemp under the federal Industrial Hemp Regulations.

The Province will continue to monitor the implementation of cannabis legalization and make adjustments to the provincial regulatory framework, as necessary, to protect children and youth, promote public health and safety, keep the criminal element out of cannabis, keep roads safe and support economic development throughout the province. 

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