Marijuana retail store in Blaine, Wa., just across the B.C. border. (Black Press files)

B.C. legislates recreational marijuana sales

Age limit 19, province retains wholesale cannabis monopoly

The B.C. government has begun overhauling its laws to make way for legalized recreational marijuana, setting new rules for retail stores and establishing a new penalty for drug-impaired driving.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed the age limit for buying recreational marijuana in B.C. will be 19, and the province’s Liquor Distribution Branch will control wholesale distribution of cannabis products for sale.

The province is also establishing a new impaired driving regulation, giving police authority to impose a 90-day driving suspension for drug-impaired driving. Technology for detecting drug impairment is moving quickly and the rules will be toughened in the future, Farnworth said.

“This marks a major milestone, and puts our province in position to not only be ready for federal cannabis regulation 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,” Farnworth said.

The B.C. plan is a mix of existing cannabis dispensaries and additional stores operated by the liquor distribution branch. The LDB will also offer online sales, but not private stores. Retail sales will be limited to a maximum 30 grams, which is the possession limit for adults in any public place.

Premier John Horgan said Wednesday the province has to accommodate the long-standing illegal or grey market of private sellers, which he personified as “Betty from Sooke” who sells cannabis to friends.

The legislation sets out training requirements for store staff, and extends existing tobacco smoking restrictions to include smoking and “vaping” marijuana products. Playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks and other places where children gather will be off limits for pot smokers.

The B.C. rules reflect federal legislation. Adults will also be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but they must not be visible from public places and will not be allowed in homes used as daycares.

The federal government has backed away from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s initial announcement that recreational marijuana will be legal as of July 1. Provinces have struggled to come up with retail control and enforcement mechanisms, with Ontario opting to have a retail as well as wholesale monopoly using stand-alone government stores.

Just Posted

Safety concerns dominate North Road meeting

Residents voice concern over Canfor’s proposal

Critics charge mayor has conflict of interest

Mayor discounts claims, says it’s about public safety

Finding a balance between economy and environment

For Pete Erickson, a happy medium is key

Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief and Council sign on for Coastal GasLink

Many factors looked at regarding proposed pipeline project

Hot, dry weather in forecast increases wildfire risk

BC Wildfire Service urges public to stay vigilant with fire

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestion

John Horgan aims to set up regional primary care networks in a ‘team-based’ approach

Vancouver, Squamish pipeline challenges dismissed by court in B.C.

Justice Christopher Grauer ruled the province’s decision to issue the certificate was reasonable

Early learning programs for Indigenous kids get $30M boost

B.C. government to help expand Aboriginal Head Start Association programs with three-year funding

Ferry sailing cancelled after ship’s second officer falls ill

Coastal Inspiration’s 8:15 p.m. sailing to Nanaimo on Tuesday cancelled, passengers to be compensated

Prince Rupert woman reported missing

Victoria Lynn Fraser was last seen on May 22, 2018

B.C. man recounts intense rescue of couple caught in mudslide

Something told Dan Anderson to go back to the scene of a major mudslide on the long weekend.

The priciest home for sale in Canada: A $38M Vancouver penthouse

Canada’s luxury real estate: The top 10 most expensive properties for sale right now

Most Read