The British Columbia government announced on Monday that the recreational marijuana won’t be sold in liquor stores, but will be available online through the liquor distribution branch once the drug becomes legal in July.B.C.’s Liquor Distribution Branch will operate the province-run stores and a website where products are available for purchase. Private retailers will not be permitted to sell cannabis products online.
“It’s our goal to introduce legalized non-medical cannabis in a responsible, safe way,” Minister of Public Health and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told reporters.
Protecting youth, preventing drug-impaired driving and curbing organized crime are “top of the list” priorities for the province as legalization approaches, he added.
The province said those over the age of 19 will be able to buy pot at government-run stores and private retailers licensed to sell cannabis products. The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will oversee the licensing process for private retailers.
In urban areas, recreational marijuana stores will also be banned from selling tobacco, lottery tickets, food, gas or clothing.The government said it is still figuring out how marijuana will be sold in rural parts of the province where residents might have limited access to retailers.
While B.C. hopes to have a sound framework in place by July, Farnworth said policy surrounding marijuana will likely be subject to change for years after, based on further consultation with the public and other stakeholders as well as the details of the federal law.