Article by Nick Eagland, Vancouver Sun
Don’t count on more than one legal recreational cannabis store to open its doors in B.C. on federal legalization day next month.
The B.C. government has said the opening of new cannabis stores “won’t happen overnight” on Oct. 17, when the federal Cannabis Act comes into force. But a survey of local governments and cannabis consultants reveals it may actually take up to 18 months before potential operators have trudged through the rigorous process of municipal rezoning, community consultation and approval for their shops.
B.C.’s framework for legalization includes government and private stores stocked with wholesale cannabis from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, as well as a website through which people can order products from government warehouses. With a month left until legalization, only the online platform and a single government store — in Kamloops — are confirmed to be up and running on day one.
Meantime, more than 100 private store applications have been submitted to the province, which must then be vetted by local governments, who are also creating special licences for the stores. None of the applications are expected to be processed and approved by Oct. 17, nor are any of those stores expected to be built, stocked and staffed.
“That’s not going to happen,” said Sara Mohsin, client executive at Rising Tide Consultants in Vancouver.
Mohsin said her cannabis team is handling more than 60 store applications from about two dozen people, corporations and publicly-traded companies, with some planning to open multiple stores across B.C., Alberta and Ontario.