As the July 2018 date of legalization approaches, Canadian provinces continue to announce their plans for the regulation, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. These announcements are a response to the federal government’s Cannabis Act (Bill C-45), which assigns the responsibility of the sale and distribution of cannabis to the provinces.

British Columbia – A Hybrid Model

  • The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of recreational cannabis with opportunities for both public and private retail stores (which would be licensed similar to private liquor stores in the province)
  • The province anticipates releasing further details about both public and private opportunities in early 2018 and stated that municipalities will have a role in how the retail model rolls out in their communities
  • The province has not revealed how the new regulations will affect existing dispensaries that are operating through municipal licenses (such as in Vancouver and Victoria) or illegally across B.C.
  • Minimum age of 19 to use, purchase or possess recreational cannabis

Nova Scotia – Cannabis Sold in Liquor Stores

  • Cannabis to be sold alongside alcohol in provincial liquor stores—Nova Scotia is the first province to announce this model of distribution
  • Details regarding online sales to be released at a later date
  • Individuals will be permitted to have up to 30 grams for personal consumption and be allowed to grow up to 4 plants per household
  • Minimum age of 19 to use, purchase or possess recreational cannabis

P.E.I. – Stand-alone Outlets Run by the Liquor Commission

  • P.E.I. Liquor Commission will operate retail locations separately from liquor stores
  • Recreational cannabis will also be available for purchase through an e-commerce platform
  • Minimum age of 19 to use, purchase or possess recreational cannabis

Manitoba – Private Retail Distribution

  • Manitoba’s Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) to maintain a wholesale monopoly on the supply of cannabis—cannabis will be sold through private stores at a price set by the private retailers
  • Interested parties will submit bids to the government and the government will choose which retailers to license to sell
  • Minimum age of 19 to use, purchase or possess recreational cannabis
  • Cannabis is not permitted to be grown at home for recreational purposes but individuals are permitted to have up to 30 grams for personal consumption

Saskatchewan – Private Retail Distribution

  • Cannabis to be sold through private retailers who are regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
  • The retailers will be chosen through a lottery of applicants (similar to Manitoba) and will be assessed based on character, financial capacity and ability to control supply
  • Regina will have 6 retailers while Saskatoon will have 7—these retailers will have 60 stand-alone stores province wide and the ability to sell products online
  • The minimum age has yet to be released

Alberta – Private Retail Distribution with Online Government Sales

  • Cannabis to be sold through private retailers who are regulated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC)
  • Cannabis will not be sold alongside alcohol or pharmaceuticals
  • Online sales will be operated by the government
  • Minimum age for purchase and consumption will be 18
  • Adults can grow four plants per household
  • Full details on cannabis retail operation will be available early 2018

Ontario – Public Distribution Model

We can expect further details on these models to be released by the provinces as they continue to develop their frameworks through consultation with municipalities, indigenous communities and key stakeholders.