Legal pot age to be 19 as Farnworth mulls cannabis legalization

Port Coquitlam business owner not surprised the LDB will be wholesale distributor of legal pot

A Port Coquitlam business owner who is keeping her eye on Canada’s soon-to-be legal pot industry said she’s not surprised the B.C. government chose the Liquor Distribution Branch to be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C. as it is for booze.

“My gut reaction to it is that B.C. often follows Ontario’s lead and it doesn’t surprise me that we’ve gone this way even though two of our major cities, Victoria and Vancouver, have basically encouraged the dispensary model,” said Leslie Wallace.

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Wallace, owner of a 50-year-old fabricating shop in PoCo that recently went out of business after its major client, the Esco foundry, closed, is in the process fulfilling requirements for an entry into the medical marijuana industry. But she said she has no preference for which way non-medical cannabis is sold except for “the legal way.”

It’s still not certain what role private dispensaries will play in retail sales because the province won’t be revealing those details until 2018.

In a press release Tuesday, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also a Port Coquitlam MLA, said the minimum legal age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis will be 19 years old.

As well, he stated that while the province will have a government-run wholesale distribution model run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, the retail model will include both public and private retail opportunities — the same as booze.

The decision follows public consultation on how the legalization of marijuana should unfold, with issues covered including personal possession, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, wholesale distribution and retail models.

With the federal legalization of marijuana set for July 1, 2018, many entrepreneurs are seeking opportunities in the lucrative industry.

Wallace, whose business, Nafco Manufacturing Inc., closed Aug. 31, is beginning the process of rezoning the property at 1840 Broadway St. for a medical marijuana facility. The application is still at the early stages, according to the city, although a sign announcing the potential rezoning has been posted in front of the property.

POT BY THE NUMBERS

Survey of public responses from the B.C. report on cannabis regulation:

• Use of cannabis: 23% of telephone survey respondents said they sometimes use marijuana, 75% said they don't; 51% of feedback form respondents said they use wee, 44% said they don't and 5% preferred not to say.

• Support legalization of cannabis: Telephone — 42% strongly support, 25% somewhat support, 9% neither support nor oppose, 9% somewhat oppose; 16% strongly oppose, 1% don’t know/refused to answer. Feedback form —68% strongly support, 68% somewhat support, 11% neither support nor oppose, 3% strongly oppose, 14% don’t know/no opinion.

The complete report is available at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/217/2017/12/Cannabis-Regulation-in-B.C.-What-We-Heard.pdf.

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