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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Pool opening further delayed

A deficiency in the tile works has setback its completion, city says

Terrace fire ban now includes Ferry Island

The ban will be in place until further notice

Four Rivers Co-op collecting donations for wildfire relief

The co-op is matching all donations they receive for the Red Cross

Island swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Most Read