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

Development, taxes and 222 Corfield discussed at Parksville all candidates meeting

All candidates met on Oct. 11 to answer the public’s questions before the Oct. 20 election

Qualicum district students to develop experiments that could head into space

Youngsters compete to have designs reach International Space Station

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Qualicum Beach moves on grant for Eaglecrest roundabout

Council votes unanimously to have staff push for application

Dying motorcyclist from Coombs gets last-ride tribute

Friends grant Corinna Pitney’s wish ‘to hear bikes roar, to see leather and chrome’

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Fall-ing for unseasonably warm weather on Vancouver Island

Environment Canada forecast calls for sunshine through weekend

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Earth samples show dust from B.C. pipeline blast not a health threat: Enbridge

Enbridge says earth sampling shows mineral and metal composition is well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Postal services ready for looming wave of legal cannabis deliveries

Legal cannabis is set to usher in a wave of high-value, age-restricted parcels in the mail system, and delivery companies say they’re ready.

Mega Millions prize of $654M is nation’s 4th-largest

No one has won the U.S. jackpot in almost three months

Most Read