Manitoba

Don't touch (or toke) the merchandise: Manitoba cannabis stores can't offer samples

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba requirements for cannabis stores, released Thursday, say you can't even touch the product before you buy it when recreational pot becomes legal on Oct. 17.

Returns will only be allowed for recalls and quality control issues under LGCA rules

Different types of marijuana are displayed at Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. You might be able to look, but you won't be able to test the product — or even touch it — before you buy in Manitoba. (Matthew Sumner/Associated Press)

There won't be any free samples at your Manitoba cannabis store when pot becomes legal on Oct. 17.

In fact, you won't even be able to touch the cannabis before you buy it.

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba released its requirements for cannabis stores Thursday, just over a month before recreational marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17.

"The measures approved by LGCA's board set procedures and processes to prevent diversion of street cannabis into the licensed stores and to ensure retail sales only to people 19 years and older," Justice Minister and Attorney General Cliff Cullen said in a news release Thursday.

A seven-page document outlines general terms and conditions for retail cannabis licence holders in Manitoba. There are more rules based on the type of store, such as an employee delivery or third-party delivery store, with specific terms and conditions attached to each licence.

There won't be any free samples at your Manitoba cannabis store when pot becomes legal on Oct. 17. In fact, you won't even be able to touch the cannabis before you buy it. 2:06

Stores will be required to do background checks on employees, but a criminal record won't automatically disqualify people from employment, said Elizabeth Stephenson, chief administrative officer of the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.

Retailers' policies on background checks will need approval from the LGCA, but employers will be able to exercise discretion, Stephenson said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

"We would be looking for things like criminal records checks, we would be looking for things like human resources checks confirming, you know, good reference checks in terms of where they worked before and who they worked for," she said.

"However, if they have, say 20 years ago, if they had a youthful indiscretion, then we would expect employers to use their better judgment."

Stores are not allowed to sell plants or seeds and must display public service notices required by the cannabis authority, such as information about safe consumption.

They're also not allowed to take returns unless there's a recall or quality control issue.

A maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent can be sold to a customer.

Retail stores must also:

  • Install a video surveillance system that records clear, colour, time-stamped images of all interior areas of a cannabis store, including the storage area and exterior entrances.
  • Do background checks on prospective employees.
  • Make sure everyone involved in selling marijuana has finished the required Smart Choices training course, which will be offered in class by LGCA inspectors, the authority's website says.
  • Verify customers' ages using photo identification to make sure they're 19 or older.
  • Maintain records of inventory, broken down into product received, available for sale, sold, not available for sale because it's on display, subject to a recall and disposed of.

Stores can't stay open past midnight or open before 8 a.m., and they can't allow customers to sample the product at the store.

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