BC says they won’t rule out co-location of alcohol and cannabis

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Courtesy of Lift Magazine

BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, says the province won’t rule out co-location of the sale of cannabis with alcohol in order to meet Ottawa’s goal of July 2018.

In an interview on Shaw TV’s Voice of B.C., BC’s lead on the cannabis legalization ticket told host Vaughn Palmer that the province can’t rule out the co-location of cannabis and alcohol.

“We have to get this done by July of next year,” said the minister during the interview. “It is a very tight time frame. To rule out co-location, I don’t think we can do that at this point.”

“We have to get this done by July of next year. It is a very tight time frame. To rule out co-location, I don’t think we can do that at this point.” -BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth

The BC NDP have said they are open to both public and private retail stores selling cannabis, and have recently closed their public engagement process to get feedback from the public and stakeholders on what legalization should look like in the province. No results from the public consultation have been released yet, but the government has said they are open to working with municipalities who want to include existing cannabis dispensaries.

“Some communities may say yes ‘we want dispensaries’, others may say ‘we don’t want dispensaries’,” said Minister Farnworth earlier this year. “The key question from my perspective is that whatever retail model we have in place is a legal one, using legal product.”

“So it doesn’t matter whether it’s dispensaries, whether it’s liquor stores, whether it’s private retail. However you want to define it, whatever model you want to put in place, what matters is it’s legal, selling legal product that people have confidence in, and we get the black market out of it.”

Liberal opposition leader Rich coleman has called on the BC government to ban any existing dispensary owners from operating in a future legal market.

Last month, BC announced a joint provincial-local government committee that will consider policies related to cannabis legalization and regulation in BC later this week.

No co-location of cannabis with alcohol ‘wherever possible’ was a recommendation from the federal government’s legalization task force, which released its report last December. When co-location cannot be avoided, said the report, “appropriate safeguards” must be put in place. However, these are only recommendations, and no specific limitation yet exists in any federal legislation that would prevent co-location.

“Given the wide use and availability of liquor stores, concerns were raised about product promotion and exposing a larger population to cannabis products should sales be co-located, as well as the impact on cannabis consumers who are trying to avoid alcohol. Many also noted that this approach could help mitigate co-use, given what we heard about the risks of co-use on health and, with alcohol, the exponential effect on impairment. In all of the U.S. states that have legalized cannabis, there

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