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.

Just Posted

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

WestShore Skatepark Coalition faces uphill battle as costs jump $166,000

‘It feels like a David and Goliath situation,’ says coalition member

Victoria’s Christmas bird count set to take flight

More volunteers needed on the West Shore for Dec. 14 count

Trees topped, greenery snatched from Saanich park

‘If everyone took one thing, there’d be nothing left,’ says president of park society

West Shore Parks and Rec offers holiday childcare alternatives

Camps available on days many daycares close

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read