Provincial legalization of non-medical cannabis
In October 2018 Canada legalized non-medical cannabis and BC enacted the Cannabis Distribution Act (CDA) and Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA).
Provincial goals guiding the cannabis regulatory framework
BC’s approach to the legalization of cannabis aims to protect and promote public health and safety while establishing a safe and responsible cannabis sector and reducing the illegal market. BC’s five cannabis goals are to: prioritize public health and safety, protect children and youth, reduce crime and the illegal market, address cannabis-affected driving, and support economic development.
Understanding the current rules for non-medical cannabis in BC
Allowing cannabis consumption spaces would provide additional opportunities to buy and use non-medical cannabis in BC. When considering your feedback on whether government should allow consumption spaces, it is important to understand the current rules.
Individuals must be 19 years or older to buy, use, or grow cannabis in BC.
Cannabis transported in a motor vehicle needs to be in its original, sealed packaging, or inaccessible to vehicle occupants.
Adults 19+ can generally smoke or vape cannabis in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are allowed. Smoking and vaping cannabis is not allowed in places such as public buildings, workplaces, or common areas of apartments, condos, or dormitories, and within six metres of air intakes, windows, and doorways attached to these places.
To minimize child and youth exposure, smoking and vaping of cannabis is also prohibited in public areas frequented by children, including community beaches, parks, and playgrounds. Use of cannabis in any form is prohibited for all occupants in vehicles. It is also prohibited to promote a place (including a business or event) to use cannabis or spend time after using cannabis, even if the cannabis was purchased legally off-site.
Non-medical cannabis can only be purchased at government-run stores, licensed or authorized private retailers, and the BC government’s online store. Provincially licensed cannabis retail stores may not sell liquor, tobacco, medical cannabis or any items other than cannabis, cannabis accessories, and ancillary items.
Legal cannabis has an excise stamp attached to its packaging – if the product does not have a British Columbia stamp, or is not in its original sealed package, it cannot be legally sold in BC.
Drug-affected drivers can face serious consequences like fines, licence prohibitions and jail-time.
New drivers in the Province’s Graduated Licensing Program have a zero-tolerance restriction for the presence of drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine, in their body. In addition, the Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP) was expanded to include a 90-day administrative driving prohibition for any drug-affected driver, or driver with a blood drug concentration equal to or exceeding the legal limits under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act.
To learn more about consumption spaces read the discussion paper.