British Columbia considering recreational cannabis consumption spaces

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The government of British Columbia is considering allowing recreational cannabis consumption spaces and has launched a public consultation on the topic.

Consumption spaces “could provide an opportunity for the sector to become more economically viable and could better meet the interests of people who use cannabis,” Mike Farnsworth, the province’s minister of public safety, said in a Wednesday news release.

The spaces could include business or special events where cannabis could be sold and used, and “examples include cafes, lounges, concerts or festivals, ticketed events and spas,” according to the release.

However, provincial law would still prohibit any indoor smoking or vaping.

Indigenous and local governments would also have a say.

“Consumption spaces could create cannabis, tourism, and hospitality jobs – especially in areas that have a history of growing cannabis or at existing tourism destinations,” according to a B.C. government discussion paper published alongside the public engagement announcement.

Cannabis consumption spaces could also “encourage consumers to choose legal sources and help increase the legal market’s share of the cannabis economy,” the paper noted.

The public consultation launched April 6 and runs until May 9.

A report will be issued later this year.

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Nearly one-third of British Columbians 19 and older report having used cannabis in the past year, according to background information provided by the provincial government.

The province had 426 licensed cannabis retail locations at the end of 2021.

British Columbia sales of legal cannabis totaled 50 million Canadian dollars ($39.7 million) in January.