British Columbia

Only 1 pot shop ready for legal sales — but 173 in the works, says safety minister

Only one government-approved marijuana dispensary will be open in B.C. on Wednesday, when recreational cannabis becomes legal. Mike Farnworth, solicitor general and minister of public safety, says the public can expect more pot shops in the months ahead.

Kamloops will be the only B.C. municipality with a legal dispensary when cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday

More pot shops are set to open in the coming months to accommodate B.C. customers after recreational cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

You can smoke it if you've got it on Wednesday. But it might be a few months until you can purchase legal pot in B.C. at a government-approved shop, according to Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

Recreational cannabis will be legal on Oct. 17. According to Farnworth, there are 173 dispensary applications pending approval in B.C.

Sixty-two of those applications have passed the first stage of approval by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and are now under review by local governments.

The ministry conducts background checks and security checks to make sure no one connected to a dispensary application has ties to a criminal organization, said Farnworth. Once they have cleared that process, it is up to municipal governments to decide if they can operate.

Thirty-five of those 62 are in jurisdictions where local or Indigenous governments have already indicated they are willing to start the approval process, said Farnworth.

Until those brick-and-mortar stores are up and running, people can purchase their pot online. Farnworth said time has been spent to ensure the website will not crash when it opens for business. There will also be one government-approved store open in Kamloops on Oct. 17.

"Legislation is all in place," said Farnworth. "Now all we need is Wednesday to get here."

Read more from CBC British Columbia 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated that 62 dispensary applications have been approved by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. In fact, those 62 applications have only passed the first stage of approval.
    Oct 16, 2018 10:00 AM PT

now