If you are an individual (sole proprietor), partnership, or corporation looking to apply for a cannabis retail store licence, here is some key information regarding the application process to sell non-medical cannabis and cannabis accessories in British Columbia.
- To be eligible to apply, you must own, lease, or have an agreement to lease the proposed retail store location and each retail store requires a separate licence.
- Applicants must be registered in B.C. as sole proprietors, partnerships or corporations and have their 9-digit Business number (issued by the Canada Revenue Agency) to apply for a Business BCeID (one time registration) in order to submit an application.
- You do not need to be a citizen or resident of B.C. or Canada.
- All applicants must be at least 19 years old.
- At this time, federal licensed producers of cannabis are not eligible for a cannabis retail store licence, however this may change in the future when the federal government issues ‘micro-cultivation’ producer licences.
The process may differ depending on the applicant, whether you’re a private corporation, public corporation, sole proprietor, partnership, or society, but generally, the application process is going to look like this:
1. Submit Application
- The application requires information about the applicant and associates, proposed location and any other licences held by the applicant.
- Consent for security screening and financial integrity checks.
- Declaration of financial, business or family connections to any federal licensed cannabis producers and retail licence holders.
- Application fee*.
2. Local Government Recommendation/Store Changes
- If a proposed store is located in the area of local government, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch must provide notice of the application to the local government for conditional approval.
- Once granted, make sure the terms and conditions of the licence are met and make changes to the store to match the description submitted with the application – floor plan, exterior signage, window coverings, etc.
3. Pass a Store Inspection
- Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch inspectors will assess whether the store meets the provincial regulation and requirements established by the applicable local government.
- Prospective licensees can schedule their inspection when ready.
- The applicant will not be authorized to possess cannabis until the licence application has been approved.
4. Receive a Licence
- Successful applicants will receive a licence after the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has confirmed that all licence requirements have been met, the inspection has been passed, and the licensing fee* has been received by the government.
- Licensees must display the licence in a prominent place in their store.
5. Register and Train Employees
- All employees must be registered with the Province before they can be employed in a non-medical cannabis store.
- Local governments may also have business licence requirements regarding employees. More information about registration and training will be available soon.
6. Order and Sale of Cannabis Products
- Before a licensee can order cannabis products, they must register with the Liquor Distribution Branch.
- Licensees can only sell products purchased from the Liquor Distribution Branch and are not authorized to sell cannabis online.
- The Province will control online sales of cannabis through its provincially operated cannabis stores.
- Licensees will need a licence number to place orders.
- All sales and inventory must be reported on a regular basis.
*Application fee of $7,500.00 (includes security screening and financial integrity checks, plus a $1,500.00 first-year licensing fee.
*Once a licence is issued, the licensee must pay an annual renewal fee of $1,500.00 and pay a fee (TBD) to undergo security screening every 2 years.
A more detailed guide for applicants can be found at the B.C. Government Website.
For more information or to connect with one of our lawyers, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or 604-629-5400.
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