The first legal, private, cannabis retail-store licence that the B.C. government has issued is in Kimberley – a town of 7,425 people in the province's southeast, the government announced October 31.
The government’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) issued the licence to Tamarack Cannabis Boutique, and went into effect today (November 1.)
The store operators, Tamara and Rod Duggan, are now able to determine when they will open their outlet for legal sales. The pair had operated an illegal cannabis dispensary (according to provincial and federal law) before Canada's Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, and the country legalized recreational cannabis sales. The Duggans, however, were able to get a business licence from the town council for that previous store.
The B.C. government plans to issue additional private, cannabis retail-store licences as applicants proceed through the licensing process.
All medical-cannabis dispensaries that have operated anywhere in the province have never been licensed by either the province or the federal government, and they have all acted contrary to federal law.
The process for legal, cannabis retail stores requires security screening and financial integrity checks, support from either a local government Indigenous nation or both, and a store inspection. The LCRB posts weekly updates on the number of cannabis retail store applications on its website.
The most recent data shows that 255 applications have been filed, where entrepreneurs have paid the application fee. Of those, 164 were incomplete applications. The remaining 91 include 90 that have been referred to either the local government or Indigenous First Nation. Then there is the one application that has been approved.
The B.C. government opened the province’s first BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops on Oct. 17, 2018.
During the first week of legal cannabis sales, that store recorded 4,014 transactions. A whopping 81.5% of the 21,737 retail cannabis transactions in the province during the first week were on the province’s online store.
Private and public retailers may sell dried cannabis, cannabis oils and capsules that comply with federal requirements. These stores may also sell cannabis accessories as defined in the federal Cannabis Act, such as rolling papers, pipes and bongs.