Cannabis Retail Licence Approval Information

With more than 130 cannabis retail licences issued in BC, local governments have been working diligently to support the legal distribution of cannabis. In order to expedite provincial approvals, local governments are encouraged to provide the necessary information requirements when submitting positive recommendations.

UBCM’s Cannabis Legalization in Your Community outlines the following requirements for a positive local government recommendation (as listed in the provincial policy guide):

•    Must be in writing;

•    Show that consideration was given to the proposed store location;

•    Outline the views of the local government on potential impacts to the community;

•    Include the views of residents (if they were gathered by the local government) and how they were gathered;

•    Provide a local government recommendation and reasons for the decision.

The writing of these recommendations is most commonly done in the form of a resolution resulting from a Council/Board decision made on a case-by-case basis. In instances where a local government has delegated authority to staff to make the recommendation, the local government should send a copy of the delegation to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for their records.

It is important to note that the purpose of the recommendation is for the local government to advise the LCRB regarding whether a cannabis retail licence should be issued to the cannabis retail applicant, as per the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

Providing the information listed above, as well as robust supplementary material (e.g. zoning conditions/restrictions, relevant local business regulations, other relevant conditions, and supporting documents referenced in the recommendation) supporting the local government recommendation, will help reduce potential delays in the approval process. Inability to meet requirements may limit the ability for the LCRB to accept a local government recommendation.

Applicants are also subject to the LCRB’s “Fit and Proper” assessment, which includes both security screenings and financial integrity checks, in the interest of due diligence and public safety. If local governments recommend issuing a license to an applicant that does not pass this eligibility screening, the LCRB will not issue a licence to the applicant.

Local governments seeking more information regarding these requirements and the retail licence approval process may contact Allan Lingwood, Local Government Liaison at the LCRB.

Additionally, the Province has released a map of licensed non-medical cannabis stores in British Columbia. This map provides the locations of licensed private non-medical cannabis retail stores that have been inspected; as such, the number of retail stores listed on the map may differ from the number of licences issued.

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