Marijuana is grown for medical use, with production set to expand as recreational use is legalized. (Black Press files)

B.C. ‘will be ready’ for marijuana legalization

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says some stores open by Oct. 17

At least some retail marijuana stores will be ready to open in B.C. on Oct. 17, when recreational sales become legal under federal law, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.

Farnworth wasn’t able to say Wednesday how many private and public stores will be opening in B.C. as a result of federal legalization that passed into law this week, because both private and provincially owned stores must apply for provincial and local approval first.

“I don’t know the exact number of applications that we’ve received yet,” Farnworth said in an interview. “I know there was considerable interest. What I do know is that come legalization date, you’re not going to see 250 stores, whether government or legal. It is something that is going to ramp up over time.”

The B.C. committed to a mix of public and private stores when it passed its enabling legislation this spring, to prepare for the federal law. Farnworth said he is pleased that the effective date was delayed until mid-October.

“We had pushed for a later legalization date,” he said. “July was just unrealistic.”

RELATED: B.C. dispensaries form independent group

RELATED: Saliva test likely for marijuana impairment

The province passed several legal changes of its own, including the extension of police powers to impose a 90-day administrative driving prohibition for drivers found to be impaired by drugs. B.C. also matched its “zero tolerance for alcohol” rule for drivers in the graduated licensing system, to apply to drug impairment as well.

Some quasi-medical private stores have received local business licences in urban areas, and some communities have told the province they are only interested in government stores run by the Liquor Distribution Branch. Municipal councils can also opt to have no retail outlets.

The province has given the LDB a monopoly on wholesale distribution and online sales. Farnworth said the province’s wholesale markup on recreational marijuana has not yet been determined, and the only taxes applied are sales taxes and a federal excise tax.

The lesson of other jurisdictions such as Oregon is to keep taxes low enough that legal sales take over the market from illegal providers, he said.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: The King of Rock and Roll runs the 25th Annual King and Queen of the Hill Race

Lambrick Park Secondary students, staff, alumni take on Mount Douglas

Colwood taking steps to improve intersection safety after two motor vehicle incidents in one week

Pedestrian and cyclist struck in two separate incidents at Sooke and Metchosin Roads

Esquimalt café cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

Free bike exchange program available to Greater Victoria kids

The Re-Buy-Cycle Shop in Langford offers free bikes for young learners

Central Saanich sparks up new opening burning bylaw

New bylaw offers ‘balanced approach’ between status quo and tougher provincial regulations

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Most Read