British Columbia to hand recreational cannabis sales to private, public sectors

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British Columbia is giving private entrepreneurs the opportunity to participate in recreational sales of marijuana next year – alongside the provincial government.

The move to permit private- and government-owned retailers was widely expected.

It gives potentially hundreds of existing medical marijuana dispensaries – which have been operating in the gray market – an opportunity to join the legal market. Details of the regulations won’t be available until next year.

The province announced its decision after considering input from 48,951 British Columbians and submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments.

What you need to know:

  • British Columbia will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19.
  • Like other provinces, British Columbia will rely on a government-run wholesale distribution model. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of adult-use cannabis in the province.
  • British Columbia plans to pass implementation legislation in early 2018.
  • Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are going with publicly owned marijuana retail monopolies, while Manitoba, Alberta and possibly Newfoundland are handing marijuana sales to the private sector.

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