Marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn., in a June 17, 2015 file photo. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

UPDATE: Pot shops speak out on B.C.’s proposed rules on age, retail plan

Minimum age set at 19, and public and private retailers will sell it in stores.

Anyone 19 years old and up will be able to buy recreational marijuana in B.C. once it’s legalized next July.

The province has announced it would set the legal minimum age at 19, in line with alcohol and tobacco.

“We know the largest consumers of cannabis are young people in that 19- to 30-year-old age range,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “If you set [the age] to high, at say 25, you’re not going to be able to get rid of that black market.”

READ: Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Also like alcohol, wholesale distribution of recreational pot will be handled by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

The drug will also be sold by both public and private retailers, although Farnworth said the government hadn’t yet decided whether or not they would place marijuana on the same shelf as booze.

“Every other province is going through a provincial system,” he said, “and it allows us a significant control, which the public has said is important.”

Farnworth did not go further into taxation, zoning, local government input or what exactly the retail model will look, saying those details will come early next year.

The province is “acutely” aware, he added, that a too-high price won’t be able to knock out the black market.

READ: B.C. cities want more money, and more talk, on legal pot

He did express optimism that the federal government had “backed off” its 50-50 taxation split, but said B.C. was not relying on revenue from taxation yet, citing startup costs and indecision from Ottawa.

Tuesday’s announcement comes after several weeks of public consultation that collected input from nearly 50,000 British Columbians, as well as submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments.

Troy, the manager of Vancouver’s Lime Life Society who did not want his last name published, said the proposed regulations are overbearing for an industry that he says has done fine on its own.

“The plan to sell it in liquor stores is completely unfeasible and unreasonable,” he told Black Press. “Unfortunately, it’s people making decisions about products and services they don’t know much about, or aren’t educated on.

“Hopefully, anything they do will be challenged with Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge.”

The federal bill to legalize and regulate marijuana, introduced in early 2017, received final approval in the House of Commons last week.

It now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to face heavy opposition from Conservatives who argue legalization should be delayed because the process is being rushed.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

World-class carver prefers the simple life

His work can be found in galleries around the world, but Kevin Peters prefers the quiet life.

RCMP respond to 105 calls in six days

A couple of RCMP case highlights from the last week

No one injured in home invasion shooting on Back Valley Road

The incident was related to a legal cannabis grow op on the property so there is no threat to public

Fire hose testing, pump refresher successful

South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department pressure-tested all of the department’s spare fire hose.

#SNAPANDWIN photo contest ends October 6

Enter now by posting selfies at participating businesses

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read