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Retail, Wholesale Cannabis Distribution and Sales in Canada

How to get a retail license to sell marijuana in British Columbia

Any person, business, corporation or organization can apply for a license to legally operate a business to produce, distribute or sell marijuana in Canada.

British Columbia cannabis retail distribution and sales licensing

  • British Columbia

After considering input from 48,951 British Columbians, and submissions from 141 local and Indigenous governments and a range of other interested stakeholders, the Province has announced a number of key decisions related to the anticipated legalization of recreational (non-medical) cannabis in July 2018.

Retail sales and distribution of cannabis:

The Province anticipates establishing a retail model that includes both public and private retail opportunities and will share details regarding the model in early 2018.

Wholesale distribution of cannabis:

Like other provinces, B.C. will have a government-run wholesale distribution model. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C.

Minimum age:

British Columbia will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19 years old. A minimum age of 19 is consistent with B.C.’s minimum age for alcohol and tobacco and with the age of majority in B.C.

B.C. Cannabis Private Retail Licencing

Application process:

What is the process for applying for a recreational (non-medical) cannabis retail licence?

When the BC government cannabis retail application portal opens, you may start the application process by entering the required information and documents. This will allow you to provide the required information early so that the assessment of your application can begin as soon as possible once the applicable cannabis legislation is passed.

How long will the application process take?

The B.C. government will conduct thorough reviews of applicants and applications in order to ensure that licensed retailers will operate in a safe and lawful manner. A significant number of applications are anticipated, and plans are being put in place to enable the applications to be processed as efficiently as possible.

Will there be an application fee?

Yes, each applicant will be required to pay an application fee and a licensing fee. The amount of the fees has not yet been determined. Once the fees have been determined, they will be announced.


Do you need assistance with BC cannabis retail store licensing? Contact us here.


British Columbia Private and Public Retail Store Cannabis Licensing

The provincial government has appointed the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to be the sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis.

The LDB will also be the government retailer of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia, and will be setting up separate, standalone cannabis stores.

BC will be establishing a retail model that includes both public and private cannabis retail stores.

In its official announcement on February 5, 2018, the government outlined a framework for retail sales and the regulation of non-medical cannabis:

  • The minimum age of 19 to purchase cannabis is consistent with the provincial age of majority and the existing minimum age to buy alcohol and tobacco.
  • Public and private retail stores will be allowed to sell prepackaged and sealed dried cannabis, seeds, and cannabis oils that comply with federal requirements.
  • The proposed federal legislation authorizes personal cultivation of cannabis up to four plants.
  • The proposed maximum limit for personal possession of cannabis is 30 grams of dried cannabis.

Following recommendations set down by the federal government’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, retail sales of non-medical cannabis will not be co-located with other businesses, including pharmacies or liquor stores.

The Liquor Control and Licencing Branch will be responsible for licensing and monitoring the retail sector, and enforcing rules governing retail stores similar to those currently in place for liquor.

Retailers will not be permitted to purchase any cannabis products directly from licensed producers or any other source other than the LDB.

As the government retailer, the LDB is permitted to sell cannabis products online when it becomes legal this summer.

Having LDB-run wholesale distribution and retail will help support the government’s key priorities of protecting children and youth, prioritizing health and safety, and keeping the criminal element out of cannabis.

Retail locations will be separate from existing BC Liquor Stores, which will continue to operate and be served under a separate supply chain. The LDB is aiming to open the first retail store shortly after cannabis is legalized by the federal government.

The LDB is mindful some municipal leaders may be more inclined than others to allow retail cannabis stores in their communities, and will work with local governments to meet permitting and other requirements as it builds a new retail network of standalone stores.

The provincial government also previously announced that LDB will be the sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis.

The LDB will purchase cannabis from suppliers licensed by Health Canada, and distribute product to public and private retailers around the province.

The BC Retail Cannabis Supply Chain:



Do you need assistance with BC cannabis retail store licensing? Contact us here.


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