WATCH: The province revealed some of the details Tuesday about how marijuana will be distributed and sold once it becomes legal next summer. There are still details to be ironed out but while it will be distributed the same way alcohol is now but it won’t be sold in B.C. liquor stores. Mary Griffin reports.
The provincial government unveiled Tuesday how recreational marijuana will be sold once it’s legalized and how old British Columbians will have to be to buy it.
The province is, essentially, going to implement a similar system as it operates for alcohol. It’s likely that there will be a separate system, apart from liquor stores, where people will go to buy pot.
The BC government will be the sole distributor, similar to the way liquor is sold.
In its new guidelines, 19 will be the minimum age to buy, possess and consume cannabis.
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch will have a monopoly on all wholesale distribution and the province will establish a retail model in early 2018.
Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research Director Dr Tim Stockwell believes the government is heading in the right direction.
“I think in time, people are going to realize purchasing it legitimately is so much better for them because they’ll know what they are getting. It should be labelled properly,” Stockwell said.
“They’ll know what the dose is.”
The government won’t talk about how much revenue it expects from pot sales.
But according to the Liquor Distribution Branch’s annual report, it paid the province $1.2 billion during the last fiscal year.
It’s potentially a huge market.
The union that represents workers in the liquor distribution branch says the announcement is good news.
“We’re actually very happy with the announcement,” BC Government Employees Union President Stephanie Smith said.
“It’ll be a windfall for the government, and the union representing workers in the liquor distribution branch.”
“I would imagine this involves more work. It is a new product, with a number of complexities. So, yes, we would imagine that new jobs are going to be created for this. And these are family-supporting jobs. And they are in the public sector. And we are very pleased about that,” Smith said.
The key questions are how and where recreational marijuana is going to be sold in retail stores.
The public will have to wait until early next year for those answers.