VICTORIA — How and where recreational pot users can buy marijuana will vary by the municipality in British Columbia when it becomes legal.Solicitor General Mike Farnworth shed more light on the shifting retail landscape in a trio of bills he introduced today that will determine the legal framework for the drug’s regulation if passed.
The province will have jurisdiction over wholesale distribution of cannabis and sales will be allowed to buyers who are at least 19 years old.
Farnworth says it will be up to each municipality to determine if and where recreational marijuana can be sold, and whether it is sold in private or government stores, or a mix of both.
Provincially run pot shops will operate under the banner B.C. Cannabis Store, similar to the B.C. Liquor Store model.
The first government-operated retail store is expected to open by late summer and public sales will also be available online.
Existing dispensaries will have the opportunity to apply for a licence, but there’s no guarantee that will be granted, Farnworth said.
Operators must also pass a background check and while minor offences will be allowed, they will not be allowed to operate if links to organized crime are found.
A new provincial community-safety unit will target illegal sellers.
There will also be a 90-day driving prohibition on drivers found under the influence of drugs and a zero-tolerance policy for new drivers in the graduated licensing program found with any THC in their systems.[share-btn]