Recreational marijuana sales become legal across Canada Oct. 17, but stores must have a provincial and local licence. (Black Press files)

Recreational marijuana sales become legal across Canada Oct. 17, but stores must have a provincial and local licence. (Black Press files)

B.C.’s marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

Province has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

Some private marijuana dispensaries in B.C. are shutting down until they get licensed under the legalization framework that takes effect Wednesday, and “that’s the right thing to do,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.

Farnworth announced Monday that the province has received 173 paid applications for private cannabis retailers, and has sent 62 of them on to local government or Indigenous nation for final assent before they can legally sell marijuana.

The Liquor Distribution Branch will open online sales on Oct. 17, but only one bricks-and-mortar store in Kamloops is ready to go, with municipal approval expected in time for the federal government’s legalization to begin.

Private store applications have to go through extensive background and security checks to make sure they aren’t linked to organized crime gangs that have controlled much of the street sales of marijuana.

Farnworth said a lot of work has gone into ensuring the online system is ready for the new reality of legal marijuana, which Canada is the second country after Uruguay to make legal nation-wide. The province signed deals with 32 federally licensed producers in July, and was planning to have 150 strains of cannabis available through its monopoly wholesale and online sales.

Of the 62 applications given provincial approval, 35 are in jurisdictions that have indicated that they are “ready” to licence stores, Farnworth says. Most communities are prepared to have a mix of public and private cannabis stores.

At least one municipality, Osoyoos, has indicated it wants no government store. Richmond council has indicated it will not licence any marijuana stores. And in places where dispensaries have operated with or without local business licences, some have begun to shut down until they have approval to reopen with government-approved suppliers.

“A number of stores have indicated that they want to become legal, and many are taking steps to make sure they have that ability, by applying and by recognizing that it’s probably in their interest to shut down their operations,” Farnworth said. “There have been other stores that have indicated they really don’t care what the rules are.”

Customers will be in possession of illegal marijuana if they buy from an unlicensed store as of Wednesday, but Farnworth said enforcement will be up to the police in each jurisdiction.

“As more and more legal stores open, enforcement will ramp up,” he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturemarijuana

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Parksville council looks to address concerns about speeding dump trucks on city streets

Residents concerned about heavy-duty vehicles cutting through side roads

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Nanoose Bay man sentenced after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, given six-month sentence after beating pet he was supposed to be caring for

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

Vivian Hermansen, Snuneymuxw First Nation, initiator of petition e-3281. Photo by Karen Evans.
Status card wait times an example of systemic racism, says Campbell River woman

Snuneymuxw woman launches petition as people waiting up to two years, as passports take three weeks

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Most Read