B.C. handing out stickers to legal cannabis stores as number of unlicenced retailers grows

FILE PHOTO - Cannabis is hung up to dry before making its way to the market.
FILE PHOTO - Cannabis is hung up to dry before making its way to the market.

The government is proud of how well British Columbia’s non-medical cannabis industry has been doing since it was legalized in 2018.

The value of the cannabis sector has quadrupled, according to a Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General media release issued today, Oct. 15. The province has the third most legal cannabis stores and the second most production licences in the country. 

"As British Columbia passes the three-year anniversary of non-medical cannabis legalization, we are continuing to develop made-in-B.C. approaches to ensure we have a strong and diverse cannabis sector, while working to keep organized crime out of the industry," Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in the release. "Legal B.C. cannabis businesses contribute to local economies and generate tax revenues that help pay for the schools, hospitals and services we all rely on."

The government is launching a campaign called Buy Legal to encourage the public to buy from provincially authorized retail outlets. To further aid legal retailers, the province is handing out free stickers to to display on their windows. The province is also creating programs for direct delivery and farm-gate sales of cannabis.

READ MORE: Two years after pot legalization, B.C. cops only have 10 roadside detectors

One regulation legal retailers have to follow is to display at least one social-responsibility poster somewhere it will be seen. The posters provide education about the responsible consumption of weed.

Currently, there are over 400 legal stores in the province, 375 are private and 30 are the government's B.C. Cannabis Stores. There are another 57 that have been approved, and the government is trying to speed up the approval process. There are 192 federal licence holders in B.C., which includes 55 micro-producers and 13 nurseries.

The ministry shared this map of legal pot shops in B.C. This map of 35 unlicenced stores was created by the retail lobby group Okanagan Cannabis Collective and shows many First Nations pot shops.

READ MORE: High times at Okanagan Indian Band's 'Green Mile'

In a letter sent to Premier John Horgan on Oct. 13, the collective called for the resignation of Farnsworth for poorly handling the rollout of legal weed.

Among the criticisms in the letter, the government was accused of not properly including First Nations in cannabis legislation.

The ministry said the province is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples as they move toward self-determination and creating economic opportunities. There will soon be shelf-space in licensed retail outlets dedicated to Indigenous cannabis products.

The province is working with the First Nations Leadership Council, as well as government-to-government talks exploring cannabis agreements like the one reached with the Williams Lake First Nation in September, 2020, regarding the operation of retail cannabis stores and a production facility that will sell craft cannabis products if approved by the federal government.

READ MORE: B.C. cannabis sales doubled in 2020, but Okanagan retail market still tough

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