VICTORIA — Recreational marijuana will be sold online and through both private and government-operated retail stores in British Columbia once it becomes legal later this year.
The provincial government has announced retailers will not be permitted to sell marijuana in stores that now sell liquor or tobacco.
The province will also allow people to smoke pot in public places where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted, although it will be banned in vehicles and in areas frequented by children, including beaches, parks and playgrounds.
Provincial rules for marijuana cultivation will align with the federal government's proposal, allowing adults to grow up to four plants per household, but landlords are allowed to prohibit cultivation.
The B.C. government will create a 90-day driving ban for those caught driving while drug- impaired, and it will increase training for law enforcement officers to recognize impairment.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says the framework provides a sound foundation to support his government's priority of public health and safety.
"That said, July 2018 is only the beginning of our journey, and these changes will not happen overnight," he says in a news release. "We fully anticipate all levels of government will need to continue to assess and refine cannabis policy and regulation in the months and years to come."
The B.C. government announced in December that 19 would be the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume non-medical cannabis. It also said B.C.'s liquor distribution branch would be the wholesale distributor of non-medical marijuana.
Adults aged 19 and older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of non-medical marijuana in a public place, and that aligns with the federal government's proposed possession limits.
The B.C. government says it will launch a registration process for people who are interested in applying for a cannabis retail licence, but licences will not be issued without the support of local governments.
The policy changes are expected to be introduced at the legislative session this spring, and the government plans a public education campaign to create awareness of the provincial rules before they come into force.