The B.C. government has released more information on the use of recreational marijuana when it becomes legal in Canada later this year.
On Sunday, Global News learned cannabis products will not be sold alongside alcohol.
In urban areas, licensed retailers will only be allowed to sell cannabis and cannabis accessories, and will not be allowed to sell other products, such as food, gas, clothing and lottery.
Personal public possession
Anyone 19 years old or older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of non-medical cannabis in a public place, which aligns with the government’s proposed possession limit.
While driving, cannabis will have to be in a sealed package or inaccessible to the vehicle’s occupants. People will not be allowed to use marijuana in any vehicle.
Anyone under the age of 19 will not be able to possess any amount of non-medical cannabis.
Smoking marijuana will generally be allowed in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. However, smoking and vaping of non-medical marijuana will be banned in areas frequented by children, including community beaches, parks and playgrounds.
Some provinces have already announced public smoking of marijuana will not be allowed under any circumstances.
Local governments will be able to set additional restrictions, as they do for tobacco use. In addition, landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking and vaping at tenanted and strata properties.
Drug-impaired driving will continue to be illegal and the government says it is going to increase law enforcement training in this area.
New regulations will also be introduced to give police more tools to remove drug-impaired drivers from the road, including a new 90-day administrative driving prohibition (ADP) for drug-affected driving. There will be a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of THC in new drivers enrolled in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP), similar to the zero-tolerance policy around alcohol.
B.C. will allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property. Home cultivation of non-medical cannabis will be banned in dwellings used as daycares. In addition, landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit home cultivation.
Further rules around what happens if someone is currently in a lease is still being worked out, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said at a press conference Monday.
However, Farnworth said there are still a lot of regulations that need to fall into place, including more information on medical marijuana.
“The federal government has indicated that they want to take a look at the medical cannabis system within five years, is what they’ve said. Our position, and the position that I’ve stated to provincial counterparts and particular to my federal counterpart is that I think it needs to happen much sooner.”
The BC Liberals were quick to react to the remaining unanswered questions around pot policy, accusing the NDP of dragging its feet when it comes to specific policy details.
“As usual, the BC NDP have dithered and delayed in making another actual decision,” said former solicitor general Mike Morris in a statement.
“This announcement leaves a lot of questions to be answered at a later date which is very concerning. We’re five months away from legalization coming into effect and we’re still only seeing part of a plan.”
Marijuana advocates, however, were more charitable — particularly regarding the ban on co-location of pot and liquor.
“We shouldn’t be encouraging and promoting putting them right in the same shop as if they’re the same product,” said dispensary owner and activist Dana Larsen.
“Cannabis and alcohol are very different, they’re very different products. And I don’t see the need to sell them right out of the same location.”
But private liquor store owners, who had mounted a campaign with unionized government liquor store workers to sell pot with booze were less impressed.
“We think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity, given that there’s 900 retail liquor store locations already in the province that have extensive experience retailing controlled substances out there,” said Jeff Guignard, executive director with the Alliance of Beverage Licencees.
The federal government says legislation will be introduced to legalize recreational marijuana by this summer.