BC Health Minister Says Dispensaries Should Not Be Involved In Legalized Cannabis

British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake weighed in on the country’s cannabis legalization plan, saying that he will use the process to push for sales to be restricted to locations like liquor store kiosks.

Lake said while the process is underway, he is focused on two issues – restricting access to cannabis by youth and the enforcement of quality controls similar to those required for Canada’s medical cannabis industry.

Local dispensaries, like those scattered around the country but located mainly on the West Coast and Toronto, should be removed from the medical side of cannabis as well, Lake said. The current government process of mail order medical marijuana should be reformed to include face-to-face sales at locations like pharmacies, Lake also said.

“We have an opportunity on the medical side to improve the system, as well as we do on the recreational side,” Lake said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when you are taking a product like this and making it legal.”

Lake said he supported the suggestion to sell recreational cannabis through liquor stores instead of dedicated marijuana dispensaries as he said liquor stores have a proven track record of enforcing age limits. Lake did reflect on the issues of selling cannabis and liquor in the same shop and said marijuana should only be sold within a different area of the store at “a separate pharmacy-type counter.”

Lake’s vision for legalized cannabis is a medical system based around pharmacies that offer high level CBD products, while liquor stores would sell recreational cannabis that instead offered high level THC products.

Federal ministers will discuss legalization, among other issues, this Wednesday when they meet for a three-day retreat in New Brunswick to review the Liberal Party’s ambitious agenda.