The BC Liquor Distribution Branch says two Vernon private marijuana store operators are all wrong when they claim the playing field is tilted in the government's favour.
Operators of Spiritleaf and The Higher Path dispensaries claimed the province pays less for its weed.
Jordan Perkins with Higher Path told Castanet he has to pay 15 per cent more for the same product BC Cannabis stores sell. Sarah Ballantyne, with Spiritleaf, said private stores also have to pay shipping costs the government does not.
But, Viviana Zanocco, manager of corporate communications with the LDB says: “BC Cannabis stores pay the same wholesale price as do the private retailers, just as our liquor stores pay the same price as private stores.”
Zanocco said BC Cannabis stores also pay the same shipping costs as private stores.
A statement prior to legalization said: "The LDB will apply a 15% mark-up on the landed cost of cannabis distributed throughout the province to retail stores and the LDB’s online store, when non-medical cannabis is legalized.... The landed cost is the total price of a product or shipment once it has arrived at a buyer's doorstep. It includes the original price of the product, transportation fees, duties, taxes, packaging and handling.
“All cannabis retailers, including LDB-operated BC Cannabis Stores, will purchase cannabis at a common wholesale price. Retailers will be prohibited from pricing cannabis products below the wholesale price. BC Cannabis Stores and licensed private retailers will access the same wholesale product assortment."
The local operators also blasted the new provincial shop for having see-through windows ahead of the provincial announcement last week that frosted windows are no longer required at marijuana stores.
But, Zanocco said the new BC Cannabis store in Vernon does have frosted windows.
Perkins opened a pot store in Lumby the same week the announcement was made, but said he had already spent $2,000 frosting the windows of that store.