British Columbia under pressure to pass key cannabis legislation within days

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British Columbia’s minority government will be under the gun to pass key cannabis legislation once it’s introduced in the province’s Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

That’s because the legislature will have only 12 more days during the spring session before breaking for the summer – with about 20 other bills also under consideration.

Thursday’s bill is expected to:

  • Call for a hybrid retail system that includes private and government-owned stores.
  • Establish a government-run wholesale distribution model.
  • Allow adults 19 and older to possess up to 30 grams of nonmedical cannabis.
  • Allow consumption in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted.

British Columbia will be the last province in Canada to start scrutinizing cannabis regulations when Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth introduces the bill.

Industry executives and entrepreneurs have been frustrated with the government’s slow pace on the cannabis rules.

“It’s a function of British Columbia being behind the 8-ball on their cannabis policies,” said Dan Sutton, CEO of Maple Ridge, British Columbia-based producer Tantalus Labs. “We really needed to get going on this months ago.”

If the province fails to pass the legislation by May 31, it could extend the spring session.

Legislators could also revisit recreational cannabis rules in a summer sitting.

If British Columbia fails to approve cannabis legislation before the federal government’s rules come into force, Health Canada has said consumers would be able to purchase recreational cannabis directly from a federally licensed producer online.

“It’s really important the government gets this right,” Sutton said of the provincial government.

Matt Lamers can be reached at

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