The B.C. government has announced an initiative to help encourage more cannabis consumers to shift from the illicit to the legal market.
Announced on Oct. 15, the third anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in this country, a Buy Legal public education ad campaign will promote purchases from provincially authorized cannabis retail stores that offer regulated and tested products.
According to the province, the campaign also emphasizes helping to strengthen local economies and keep profits out of the hands of illegal operators and organized crime.
The ads contain a single link to online resources, including a map of legal sellers at: https://justice.gov.bc.ca/lcrb/map.
B.C. has 375 licensed private retail stores, plus 30 public retail stores under the BC Cannabis Stores brand.
The province also notes that a further 57 applications from throughout the province for private stores are approved in principle, as government strives to assess, improve and tighten processing timelines for retail licensees.
B.C. now has the third-highest number of legal cannabis retail outlets in Canada and second-most federally-approved production licence holders.
Delta council recently announced it instructed staff not to accept and consider any more submitted applications to open cannabis retail stores in the city – at least for the time being.
The decision was made in order to give planning staff enough time to deal with a flood of applications.
In June, following a public hearing, council unanimously approved advancing an application by Seed & Stone to open a private cannabis dispensary at 616 Chester Road, located on Annacis Island.
That application must still come back to council for final approval.
In August, the city received applications for two more cannabis retail outlets in North Delta.
Those rezoning applications would see a private cannabis dispensary opened at the Delta Shoppers Mall at 8077 Scott Road as well as a B.C. government cannabis outlet in the Scottsdale Centre mall at 70 Avenue and Scott Road.
The city also recently received two applications to open dispensaries in Tsawwassen and one in Ladner.
Prior to the legalization of cannabis in Canada, Delta council passed a bylaw prohibiting cannabis production and retail sales in all zones, except where grow operations are permitted by the province within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The city will consider retail applications on a case-by-case basis.
As far as growers, several greenhouse operations are already located in Delta including Pure Sunfarms, Boundary Bay Cannabis and Rubicon Organics, while extraction and processors include Embark Delta Inc. on Annacis Island.
The provincial government, meanwhile, is also developing programs for direct delivery and farm-gate sales, which will launch in 2022.
Announced last year, the new program follows input and recommendations from cannabis growers, Indigenous leaders and other stakeholders, giving Health Canada-licensed small-scale producers the option of delivering cannabis directly to licensed retailers.
As far as farm-gate sales, the program will give B.C. cannabis growers the ability to sell their products from “farm-gate” stores located at their production sites directly to consumers.
In a recent interview, Mandesh Dosanjh, president and CEO of Pure Sunfarms, told the Optimist his operation is involved with the consultation, but is currently not focused on setting up a retail outlet at their greenhouse.