B.C.'s pot plan unveiled

UPDATE: 11:35 a.m.

The model for recreational cannabis distribution announced by the B.C. government came as no surprise to a local advocate for medicinal cannabis patients.

Mark Conlin said he'd been expecting a model that included wholesale distribution run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, along with public and private retail outlets.

“From what I've seen it looks good, but they're still short on details as to how the private retail side might be working out,” Conlin said. “The industry is certainly large enough to accommodate public and private sales.”

Now that the province is moving forward with recreational cannabis dispensaries, Conlin says he wants to know what will happen with medicinal cannabis dispensaries, which are currently illegal.

“It would seem kind of ludicrous to have private retail sales at the provincial level for recreational cannabis and yet prohibit patients from acquiring it in the same fashion,” Conlin said.

Five medicinal dispensaries in Kelowna were recently targeted in a lawsuit by the City of Kelowna.

In light of the upcoming legalization, Conlin called the recent lawsuits “ludicrous.”

“I hope that more sober minds prevail on this issue and they'll back off and let the dispensaries serve the patients that they've been serving,” Conlin said. “I know that the courts are taking a real dim view of frivolous cannabis complaints before them these days.”

Correction: A previous version of this story said Mark Conlin was the media manager for Starbuds Medicinal Cannabis, but Castanet has since learned Conlin no longer works for Starbuds. 

ORIGINAL: 10:25 a.m.

When recreational cannabis is legalized by the federal government in July, British Columbia will regulate the sale of the plant similar to the model used for alcohol. 

After hearing input from almost 49,000 people since September, the province released its plan for cannabis distribution Tuesday.

Only those 19 and older will be able to purchase, possess and consume the newly-legalized drug.

The wholesale distribution will be run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, while the retail side of things will be handled by both public and private stores.

The province says they will release details regarding the retail model in early 2018.

The federal Liberal party ran in the 2015 election on a platform promising to legalize cannabis. They have said the changes will take effect on July 4, 2018, but have left the distribution side up to the provinces.  

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