Medical marijuana production facility in Richmond B.C. (Black Press files)

B.C. keeps marijuana retail options open

Province may follow Ontario model of government stores

The B.C. government is keeping all of its options on the table for legal marijuana sales, including the government monopoly retail model announced by Ontario, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Thursday.

Farnworth was going into two days of meetings in Vancouver with federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and other provincial ministers. They are facing a deadline of July 1, 2018 set for recreational pot sales to become legal, amid warnings from police that it’s not enough time to prepare.

The federal framework gives Ottawa authority over licensing, production, testing and quality control. Provinces are responsible for distribution and retail sales, and Farnworth said the top priority for the province and police is getting organized crime out of the marijuana business.

“Distribution key to that, whether you have a central distribution location, for example the Liquor Distribution Branch, or multiple distribution options,” Farnworth said.

“Vancouver has a model that they seem to do fine with. Plenty of people don’t like it but many people do like it. That may not sell in Port Coquitlam or in Fort St. John, or in the Kootenays or on the Island.”

Ottawa has set a minimum age of 18 for buying marijuana, but B.C. could choose 19 as it has for liquor sales, or a higher limit. B.C. will consult with local governments, police, the existing legal medical marijuana industry and the public, and Farnworth expects to take options to the B.C. cabinet soon.

On taxation, he said it’s important that provinces have similar rates, and that legalization not be seen as a “money grab” for governments.

“When [Finance Minister] Carole James and myself were down in Washington and Oregon, one thing that was very clear is that you cannot set the tax rate so high that it encourages the black market,” Farnworth said.

Just Posted

Trail Smoke Eaters grind out win over Vernon Vipers

Trail Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson scored the game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers

Tea, crafts, music and dance this weekend in Greater Trail

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Nov. 15 to Nov. 21

Car accident prompts advisory from Greater Trail RCMP

Extrication by regional firefighters; driver and passenger walked away with minor injuries

Trail mayor announces task force to address crime

Coun. Sandy Santori was appointed to the Community Safety Task Force

Castlegar’s Waterline property purchased; owners to protect it for rock climbers

New owners plan to subdivide, sell bluffs to recreational climbing group

Extreme Education and Career Fair helps give back to the community

It’s estimated that there will be one million job vacancies in the next nine years in B.C.

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read