How will legal pot be sold in B.C.? Province still hazy on answers

published on March 27, 2017 by Lisa Johnson in CBC News

Province has working group, but it’s unclear how or where the drug will be sold or who will be able to buy

The federal Liberals have finally said when marijuana will be legal in Canada — July 1, 2018 — but just how the drug will be sold above-board in B.C. remains unclear.

Under legislation expected next month, the provinces will decide the price of pot, as well as how marijuana products are distributed and sold.

In B.C., a cross-ministry working group is, well, working on it — but saying little.

“Until the full details of the federal changes are finalized and released, we will not be in a position to speak in any further detail,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Morris in a statement.

The NDP says the government’s “hands-off” approach on the file has left B.C. behind when it should be consulting with municipalities and the public on the “incredibly complex” regulations to come.

“We need to get going on that work now,” said Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill and NDP finance critic.

Here’s where the questions stand so far.

Who will be allowed to buy?

When marijuana becomes legal, the pretense of a prescription will be gone, but age restrictions will remain.

That’s one of B.C.’s top three concerns under legalization, with the government stating earlier this month: “Young people should not have access to cannabis before they are of age.”

Ottawa plans to set a minimum age of 18, but the provinces can go higher than that.

“I think what we’ll end up seeing is the provinces setting the age limit consistent [with] alcohol,” said M-J Milloy, a marijuana researcher at the University of B.C. Department of Medicine and B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

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