Article by David Brown, Lift News
Although no official cannabis policy from BC has been announced yet, several business and industry interests have already begun lobbying the new NDP government on the subject of legalization and issues like retail sales and taxes on medical cannabis.
Among them, the Quebec-based convenience store chain Couche-Tard engaged consultants David Gourlay and Yan Plante, who submitted a registration with the BC Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists on Sept 12 to discuss cannabis retail distribution in the province, with the intention of meeting with public officials to discuss “legislation, a bill or regulation.”
Among the public officials Couche-Tard will be targeting in BC are Premier John Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, BC Attorney General David Eby, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.
Earlier this year, Couche-Tard said they were interested in selling cannabis in Quebec, but the province has so far indicated that they are looking at a provincially-run monopoly system. The founder of Couche-Tarde says he was insulted by Quebec’s approach.
Ontario and New Brunswick have also already announced a crown corporation for distribution and sales similar to how the provinces manage alcohol. Western provinces like BC and Alberta, which have less restrictive approaches to alcohol sales, are thought to offer the same potential for cannabis, although no concrete policies have been released from either province yet.
Premier Horgan recently said that BC will be ready for legalization by next summer and made vague references to dispensaries in cities like Vancouver or Victoria that seem to imply an openness for more than just a crown corporation retail model.