Just because pot becomes legal in Canada next week, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to buy it in Castlegar or Trail.
Green Cannabis Consulting is closing for renovations on Oct. 16, the day before legalization. What remains unknown, is the timeline for when the downtown Trail store will open again and offer non-medical cannabis under a new business name.
“[We] will re-open as soon as we receive our non-medical cannabis sales license from the B.C. provincial government,” founder Jeff Thompson told Black Press. “We will no longer be offering consulting services out of our Cedar Avenue location. Green Cannabis Consulting will be moving and a new company will replace it, offering recreational cannabis sales, if approved.”
Thompson added, “We have no information about when our license application could be approved.”
Black Press contacted the province and was directed to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch website as retailers must get a cannabis retail store licence from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
As far as buying pot on Oct. 17, there will be one licensed B.C. store — six hours from Castlegar— in addition to online sales.
Both the store and all online retail will be government-run.
“The only location that will be open is in Kamloops and this will be a provincial government operated store,” Thompson said. “There will be online sales available Oct. 17 from the provincial government [but I] am not sure exactly how that will work.
“And they will be the only ones to offer online sales from that day forward.”
So with private businesses cut out from online sales after Oct. 17 and no word on when the province will issue licenses to retailers, at this point it’s a waiting game.
“My guess is on Oct.17, all current medical cannabis retailers will be closed until approval from their local and provincial governments,” Thompson said.
Medical sales will be available online and eventually filled by a pharmacist from a store such as Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmasave, he added.
“Other than that, we are kind of in the dark with respect to opening day and product selection. Only rumours.”
Individuals can grow up to four plants in one household as of Oct. 17, and the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations will remain unchanged for now.
Regarding local enforcement, RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says police will meet with the owner/operator of every licenced dispensary in GreaterTrail.
“The Trail detachment will monitor each dispensary to ensure it has obtained a proper license under the approved regulations and operates within the approved guidelines under Canadian law,” Wicentowich told Black Press.
“The Trail detachment will confirm that proper security is in place in each dispensary … [and] will pay particular attention to any reports of sales to minors and reports of anyone, or group of people, become ill from any marijuana products being sold.”
Those who operate without proper licencing may still be investigated criminally under the authority of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.