Six months since legalization of non-medical cannabis

April 17th, 2019

Despite widespread supply shortages across Canada, steps taken by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) prior to and following legalization have safeguarded the province from supply outages impacting the business operations of retailers throughout the first six months of legalization.

The LDB has engaged with 34 licensed producers, and continues to work closely with suppliers to procure product as it becomes available. As part of ongoing efforts to create a range of products that include exclusive offerings, the LDB has also been engaging with new and small-scale producers as they receive licensing.

In the six months since legalization, the LDB has welcomed 18 private retailers to its wholesale line of business and looks forward to expanding service as more applicants successfully complete the licensing process. The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has accepted 480 applications, 331 of which are awaiting local government approval. As part of a commitment to providing best-in-class service to wholesale customers, the LDB has encouraged open dialogue with its customers in order to understand and accommodate their needs.

The LDB has also been actively investigating potential locations for the rollout of its network of BC Cannabis Stores. To date, the LDB has received municipal approval for an additional 18 BC Cannabis Stores locations, and continues to work closely with municipalities across the province to identify and develop sites.

Locations that have received municipal approval include Williams Lake, Cranbook, Campbell River, Terrace, Fort St John, Salmon Arm, Prince George (two stores), Powell River, Quesnel, Port Alberni, Trail, Courtenay, Sechelt, Penticton and Vernon. The City of Kamloops, which welcomed the first BC Cannabis Store in the province on October 17, 2018, will be home to two additional stores expected to open this summer.

As part of the LDB’s commitment to continuous improvement, BC Cannabis Stores’ online sales channel will be adding user account functionality to enable a faster and more convenient shopping experience. Customers will soon be able to create a personal account and store their shipping information and view their order history, while ensuring the continued protection of their privacy.

Social responsibility has always been one of the LDB’s top priorities, and this value is being reinforced through the creation of extensive social responsibility campaigns and in-store education material. Campaigns such as ‘Don’t Drive High’ and ‘Keep Cannabis Away From Youth’ highlight the importance of responsible use of non-medical cannabis.

In an effort to further highlight the importance of social responsibility and share key operational updates, BC Cannabis Stores recently launched on social media, and can now be followed by people over the age of 19 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The LDB looks forward to continuing to strive towards offering best-in-class service via its wholesale and retail channels, and achieving its mandate of protecting young people and keeping the criminal element out of cannabis. It contributes over $1.1 billion annually to the Province of B.C., providing funding for services like health care and education.

Fast facts:

  • Since 12:01am on October 17, when the BC Cannabis Stores online sales channel went live, we have recorded a total of 100,716 transactions.
  • The Kamloops BC Cannabis Store has served 123,456 customers since opening its doors on October 17, 2018.
  • The LDB has engaged with 34 licensed producers, and is committed to working with any licensed producer that is interested in supplying the BC market.
  • Acknowledging BC’s discerning market, the LDB has worked closely with LPs as they create products that are exclusive to BC.
  • Top sellers continue to be high-CBD products, such as oils and capsules, and low-cost, high-THC products.
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