Canada will become only the second country in the world to sell legal cannabis. However, as the legal marijuana industry in Canada launches online sales, the country’s massive and well-established system of cannabis retailers will soon become too illegal than expected. Immediately the Canadian Cannabis Act known as Bill C-45 goes effective, unrecognized private retailers will be going against the law and they’ll also forgo any possibility of acquiring a license to operate legally. This is the reason why officials in British Columbia are telling dispensaries in the province to start shutting down before legalization. Most shops will probably shut down, which means consumers of cannabis in British Columbia may face difficulties buying marijuana from a legal storefront. On the 17th of October, British Columbia will have just one licensed retail store.
All over the Nation of Canada, illegal dispensaries have functioned as a type of space for non-medical cannabis consumers as a wound of the country, it’s not a good way towards legalization. The personal, unlicensed, non-medical retailers of marijuana were illegal from the start. However, they functioned in the form of an open business secret. Apart from crackdowns by authorities, government officials have underestimated these underground “pharmacies,” mostly due to the anticipation of full legalization.
The residents of the cities of Toronto and Vancouver know where to find these illicit shops. Tourists can even find these illicit shops on popular weed apps. Moreover, many people believe that when Oct. 17 reaches, they can walk to any cannabis shop as usual, only now with the law on their side. Certainly, most of these illicit dispensaries will not shut down, therefore functioning at their own risks. However, officials in British Columbia have announced that they’re introducing a new enforcement agency which has the right to confiscate cannabis from illicit dispensaries.
According to British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, dispensaries wanting to operate legally will need to shut their doors to the public and proceed with their application process. Nevertheless, more than 170 retail operating license applications have been sent to the provincial ministry. The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) of British Columbia will need to review and consider all of them. Currently, the LCRB have discovered that 62 applications are complete and under consideration by local governments. However, only 35 applications are currently being reviewed in jurisdictions that are set to pass the resolution of the council which acknowledges local cannabis retail.
When the application process is complete, the provincial ministry will need to conduct background checks, security clearances, and recognize the applicant’s revenue stream is not associated with organized crime. According to Farnworth, more shops will open their doors in B.C. in the coming months. But on the day of legalization, only one licensed cannabis shop will open in Kamloops. All other legal cannabis purchases will pass through the online LCRB portal of British Columbia.
The illicit dispensaries in B.C. will also have to shut down if they plan on becoming legal retailers. According to Farnworth, existing dispensaries will a similar application process like all other retailers. Most retailers have started the process, but they will need to shut down their businesses until they become certified.