UPDATE: Pot shops speak out against B.C.’s proposed rules

Minimum age set at 19 and public and private retailers will sell it in stores.

Marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn., in a June 17, 2015 file photo. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Anyone 19 years old and up will be able to buy recreational marijuana in B.C. as soon as Ottawa legalizes it next July.

The province announced it would set the legal minimum age at 19, in line with alcohol and tobacco.

Just like alcohol, wholesale distribution of recreational pot will be handled by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. It will be sold by both public and private retailers.

“Looking at the responses received, it’s clear that British Columbians support the priorities of protecting young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe,” said Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth.

The province kicked off several weeks of public consultation in late September and released Tuesday’s recommendations following input from nearly 50,000 British Columbians, and submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments.

Farnworth assured reporters at the start of consultation that the government was doing everything it could to finish its work by the July deadline.

Marijuana dispensary owners in Vancouver weren’t all pleased with the government’s decision.

Troy, the manager of Vancouver’s Lime Life Society,

“The proposals all suck,” Troy, who declined to provide his last name, said.

“The plan to sell it in liquor stores is completely unfeasible and unreasonable.”

Despite the public input campaign, Troy feels that the proposed provincial regulations are overbearing for an industry that he says has done fine on its own.

“Unfortunately, it’s people making decisions about products and services they don’t know much about, or aren’t educated on,” he said.

“Hopefully anything they do will be challenged with Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge.”

Another marijuana dispensary employee, who declined to have her name used, said that she was disappointed with the production quality she foresees at public retailers.

“This isn’t the cannabis I want representing our country,” she said. “I’m disappointed.”

VIDEO: B.C. to consult public on marijuana legalization

The federal bill to legalize and regulate marijuana, introduced in early 2017, received final approval in the House of Commons last week.

It now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to face heavy opposition from Conservatives who argue legalization should be delayed because the process is being rushed.

Further details on the rules for recreational pot in B.C. won’t be released until early 2018.

Farnworth was expected to provide more details on the just-announced regulations later on Tuesday.

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