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Kelowna businesses fined for selling pot, cider to minors

Pot, cider sold to minors

Two Kelowna businesses were handed fines this week for serving alcohol and cannabis to a minor during a sting operation this past summer.

On July 12, 2023, B.C.'s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch conducted inspections at several cannabis and alcohol businesses in Kelowna. In decisions from earlier this week, the branch imposed $7,000 fines against Kiaro Cannabis in downtown Kelowna and Upside Cider, located near the Kelowna International Airport.

Both infractions occurred during what's called the “Minors as Agents Program,” which sees minors attempt to buy alcohol or cannabis to test the licensee's protocols that are in place.

A 17-year-old entered Upside Cider on July 12, 2023 and purchased a 750 ml bottle of cider. The bartender, a manager at the establishment, never asked for ID.

That same day, a 17-year-old entered Kiaro cannabis and purchased a pack of THC gummies. Again, the person behind the counter, also a manager, didn't ask for ID.

Immediately after the sales, an adult inspector entered the businesses and informed the employees they had sold to a minor.

Both Kiaro and Upside admitted they contravened the respective Acts governing their establishments, but both raised a defence of “due diligence,” arguing they had proper training and policies in place to prevent further contraventions.

While the Branch found Kiaro and Upside had adequate training in place, it ruled in both cases that the businesses didn't provide evidence of the effective application of the training policies.

As a result, the Branch concluded their defence of due diligence failed.

In both cases, this was the first contravention of this type for the businesses, so both were handed the minimum penalty of a $7,000 fine.



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