Government of B.C. approves the first private adult-use cannabis dispensary

Now, there are officially two legal stores in the province

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      It has been two weeks since the official date of cannabis legalization in Canada, and today the province issued the first licence for a privately-owned cannabis store.

      In a release this afternoon (October 31), the province announced that Tamarack Cannabis Boutique is officially the second legal cannabis store operating in B.C., the first being a government store in Kamloops. The shop is located in Kimberley and will be allowed to operate as of November 1, 2018.

      The licence was issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), an arm of the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) charged with overseeing legal cannabis distribution across the province.

      According to the new regulations, both private and public retailers can only sell dried cannabis, oils, and capsules from a selection of federally approved producers—all of which has to be ordered and sourced from the LDB warehouse. The federal government has said cannabis-infused edible and topical products will be made legal within a year. These stores may also sell cannabis-related accessories, like rolling papers, pipes, and bongs.

      Medically-approved patients can also source their cannabis directly from LPs through their online stores, and recreational consumers can also purchase products online.

      The release reads: “Now that the business is licensed, the store operator will determine when it will open for sales.”

      Once Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, passed, provincial governments were granted the authority to choose a dispensary business model best suited for the region. B.C. opted for a hybrid system, gradually allowing approved cannabis retailers into the marketplace. The provincial government reports it has received over 173 applications for cannabis retail stores. Of the open applications, 62 have been reviewed and passed to local governments for consideration and 35 are in the late stages of the approval process—34 now that one has made it through the final stage.