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Regulatory Changes for BC Retailers

Updated May 23, 2023

The BC government is looking to make some changes to provincial cannabis regulations, according to an announcement made by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Minister Mike Farnworth at the BC Cannabis Summit in Kelowna last month.

Product Visibility

As of May 19, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) is repealing the visibility requirements from the Provincial Cannabis Licensing Regulation. This is a great win for the industry that has been advocating to repeal the requirement for window coverings, which have made cannabis stores a target for robberies since people can’t see inside the store.

According to Jeff Guignard, Executive Director of ABLE BC, “LCRB will introduce a term and condition prohibiting window displays of cannabis and cannabis accessories to people outside the stores. This change provides licensee and authorization holders more flexibility, while ensuring that cannabis and cannabis accessories will not be displayed to people outside the store, in keeping with the federal Cannabis Act.”

Cannabis Consumption Spaces

BC is also embarking on work to gradually enable cannabis-related hospitality and tourism opportunities, which are currently limited by provincial and federal laws.

In early 2023, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General released its 2022 What We Heard Report, which included findings related to public opinion concerning possible licensed cannabis consumption spaces in the province.

At the time of the report’s release, Brittny Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism for the province said, “Exploring the feasibility of cannabis-consumption spaces is another way BC is working to support the success of the industry. With the recent introduction of a license for farm-gate sales, understanding public opinion on cannabis-related hospitality and agri-tourism activities is a practical next step. The feedback in this report will play an important role in the development of provincial policies.”

In BC, while public consumption of cannabis is permitted, subject to some restrictions, promoting a place to consume cannabis is prohibited. In the statement provided to Cannabis Retailer, the Minister says the Province is reviewing and reconsidering its promotion rules, including how they apply in settings where licensed retail activities occur.

The next step will be to look at potential for authorized cannabis sales at special events. This work will take time and further engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous partners.

Cannabis Market Controls

Government is also reviewing BC’s cannabis market controls, for example the restrictions on vertical integration and the retail license cap.

The Minister says a key priority is to ensure that existing licensed cannabis businesses in BC can benefit from the expanded business opportunities that will result from the evolving provincial framework.

The Province will continue to engage with the cannabis industry, public health and safety stakeholders, the federal government, local governments, First Nations, and Indigenous partners as this work proceeds.

Tags: BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (10), British Columbia (24), British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (12), cannabis consumption space (3), Cannabis Regulations (101), LCRB (14), Mike Farnworth (11)