NDP government opts for hybrid cannabis sales model

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Furey had said the province would release its recreational marijuana plans - including minimum age and the retail model - by the end of this year.

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 non-medical cannabis in July 2018.

The NDP government has announced a hybrid retail model for recreational marijuana sales in which government will control distribution, but with the private sector allowed to participate in retail sales.

"We thank all British Columbians who provided their input during the important public and stakeholder engagement process", said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

The government wants to protect young people, prioritize health, keep criminals out of the industry and maintain road safety, he said. About a third said B.C. should introduce additional measures.

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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.

A report released along with British Columbia's announcement says many people expressed concern about the impact of cannabis on brain development for those under 25.

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. The report added that "most of these individuals preferred to see the existing dispensaries and their supply chain legitimized, licensed, and regulated".

The decisions made by B.C. leadership were fuelled through a five-week public consultation period that began on September 25 and concluded on November 1.

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.