British Columbia finalizes their rules on possession, sale and use of medical cannabis.
The final paving stones have been placed in Canada’s path towards the legalization of Marijuana. Legalization is set for October 17th, 2018. Millions of people across Canada have anticipated for this day to come. What does this mean for people behind bars with crimes involving marijuana? What does this mean for legal patients? What does this mean for people who smoke recreationally? There are a lot of what’s, if’s and how’s related to the legalization process. Many are concerned and many are happy. “October 17 is coming and we know this is not the beginning and the end, but rather just the start of what will be an evolutionary process,” Solicitor General Mike Farnworth (NDP Politician from Port Coquitlam) told reporters at the legislature late last week.
In British Columbia, the rules have already been set. The legal age to consume or purchase Cannabis is 19, and the maximum amount of marijuana that a person can posses in PUBLIC is 30 grams. The new regulations also set a maximum HOUSEHOLD possession of 1,000 grams. This is roughly equal to the allowance of up to FOUR plants per house-hold.
Smoking Marijuana in public will be treated the same as smoking tobacco related products and vaporizers. The government has banned the smoking or vaping of marijuana in provincial parks, near schools, in vehicles, on boats, near bus stops, inside public buildings and within six meters of any doorway, window or air intake.
Starting on October 17th, 2018, there will be only ONE store in British Columbia to purchase cannabis from. This will be a government run store located in Kamloops. Mike Farnworth stated that over 100 private retailers have applied for licenses. These retailers require municipal consent and local government officials have told Farnworth that is it more likely to occur quickly after the municipal elections on October 20th, 2018. Once and if these retailers are approved, they will face strict licensing conditions on sales and record-keeping. Separate licenses are required to market and advertise cannabis. Companies that break the rules face fines up to $100,000 and individuals could face up to 12 months behind bars. A pot shop that illegally sells, possesses or gets its supply from an unlawful source (Non-Licenses Producers) faces fines anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000, as well as license suspensions of between 15 and 90 days depending on if they’ve violated any other rules in the previous 12 months.
A GOOD THING TO KNOW IF YOU ARE RUNNING A PRIVATE RETAIL STORE OR WANT TO OPEN ONE. Customers aren’t allowed to light up in the store after buying marijuana, or the business could face up to $15,000 in fines and a 15 day suspension of its retail license. You can appeal if you think the penalty was unfair, but it comes with a $500 “reconsideration fee.”
Now you are probably wondering how is the government going to charge for Marijuana? What taxes are going to be applied? How much am I going to pay per gram? These are many of the questions that lots of patients and consumers will be and are asking right now.
With the new regulations placed, each province will apply their own markup and provincial taxes. In British Columbia, a markup of 15% will be applied to marijuana on it’s retail shelves. This is combined with the 5% federal GST, and a 7% provincial sales tax. A NEW tax of 2.3% called “Regulatory Recovery Fee” will be applied from Health Canada. This causes lots of concerns towards Marijuana being too expensive for patients and consumers. Also causing a possible rush of people diving back into the black market.
So what are your thoughts on the legalization of cannabis in Canada?
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