Canadians will be able to buy cannabis from public and private stores, and online


Sara Tiradossi

With social legalization around the corner, Canada’s federal government will allow provinces to roll out their own regulations regarding user age, the location and licensing of retail stores, home grows, and many other details.

In Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative government announced anyone 19 or older would be able to purchase cannabis at retail stores or online, according to their Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act. The new laws will allow cannabis to be sold at two different retail stores: one would prohibit those 19 and under to enter the store, and the other would be open to all ages but would not openly display cannabis products for sale.

These licensed stores will also sell cannabis online but the recipients will have to sign for every delivered package.

In addition, Manitoba’s regulations will include details on the safety of cannabis consumption, such as possible side effects of the drug. The regulations will also make it illegal for an individual to sell, give or pass a joint to an intoxicated person. Any resident in Manitoba will also be prohibited from growing cannabis in their own home, unless they have a medical cannabis permit.

Similarly, British Columbia’s government has released a preliminary version of their own cannabis framework that will make the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch the sole distributor of social cannabis, which would then be sold in both public and private stores.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said more information would become available by next February. It is unsure whether online sales will be handled by the government.

Furthermore, the province is still determining whether the hundreds of people currently selling cannabis illegally through dispensaries will be allowed to enter the new market. Cannabis attorney Kirk Tousaw said the government should look into transitioning these dispensaries to legal operations to make it easier for the province to meet the deadline for legal sales.

“There’s not much in negatives being caused by these establishments,” Tousaw said. “There’s a tremendous amount of talent in B.C. and we need to harness that and we need to acknowledge that they are pioneers, not criminals.”

Farnworth added there is still a lot of work that needs to be done legislatively, and he expects “a great deal of the legislative calendar to be taken up by the legalization of cannabis in the spring.”