B.C.’s public safety minister says the province has received 173 applications for cannabis retail outlets, but only one is approved to open when marijuana sales become legal in Canada Wednesday.
Kamloops is home to the one store that has been approved to open and Mike Farnworth says 62 others have been completed and submitted to the government for consideration.
Farnworth met with the media in Victoria Monday morning and said 35 of those are in the latter stages of approval and should be open in the coming months, although there are no firm timelines when that will happen.
Farnworth called Wednesday’s legalization of marijuana across the country representing one of the biggest public policy shifts in the last 50 years.
The minister said background and security checks are being conducted on store applicants to ensure there are no links to organized crime and to know exactly who all the principles are and where the money is coming from.
According to Farnworth, the province’s online portal will be ready to handle an anticipated surge of online marijuana purchases, saying a lot of work has been done for online services to function properly Wednesday.
In a recent report from Deloitte, the cannabis market including medical, illegal and legal recreational products is expected to generate up to $7.17 billion in total sales in 2019.
Deloitte added legal sales are expected to contribute more than half, up to $4.34 billion, in the first year.