With public health and safety as the top priority, the Province has introduced legislation to provide for legal, controlled access to non-medical cannabis in British Columbia.
“The legislation introduced today (April 26, 2018) provides a sound foundation for the regulation and safe implementation of legalized cannabis in British Columbia,” said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a media release.
“This marks a major milestone, and puts our province in position to not only be ready for federal cannabis legalization in late summer, but does so in a way that reflects the Province’s goals for legalized cannabis that prioritize public health and safety, particularly for our children and youth.”
The proposed Cannabis Distribution Act (CDA) will establish the Province’s exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale distribution of cannabis, and provide authority for public retail sales.
The proposed Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA) establishes provincial control over the sale, supply and possession of non-medical cannabis, and establishes licensing of private cannabis retailers, including registration and training requirements for those who will work in cannabis retail.
The act outlines restrictions on the possession, personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis by adults and prohibitions for minors.
The act also includes a compliance and enforcement regime to ensure legalization of non-medical cannabis protects children and youth, prioritizes public health and safety, keeps cannabis out of the hands of criminals and keeps roads safe. A community safety unit will target illegal sellers.
Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) will address drug-affected driving.
The legislature will debate and review the proposed pieces of legislation before they’re finalized and passed into law. Provincial implementation timelines depend on the proposed federal legislation receiving royal assent, Farnworth said.
The Liquor Distribution Branch is expected to open the first government-operated retail store by late summer, and is working to implement an e-commerce solution to offer online sales to the public. The brand identity and logo for B.C. Cannabis Stores, developed in-house, will be featured on store fronts and within print material.
Until laws change, the use of non-medical cannabis is still illegal in B.C.