The online sales website didn’t crash, the only licensed store did a brisk business and legal marijuana is now a fact in B.C., Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.
Farnworth told reporters Monday that by noon there were more than 4,000 sales made in the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch system, the only legal source of recreational cannabis in the province as of midnight last night.
Farnworth said the prices for various strains of cannabis at the B.C. government’s only physical store in Kamloops and online are competitive with other legal jurisdictions. He shrugged off suggestions that black market marijuana is available more cheaply.
A looming Canada Post strike next week threatens delivery of online sales, but Farnworth said these kinds of labour disputes have a way of being settled before major disruptions take place.
The lack of government and store licences in B.C. has been an issue raised many times as the date for Canada to legalize recreational cannabis has approached. Farnworth said it’s an unfortunate coincidence that local governments are in the midst of election campaigns as the date arrives. Many councils have simply decided to wait for new councils to decide where and how many retail cannabis locations they will allow in their communities.
Farnworth repeated his warning that as more stores receive provincial and local licences to operate, enforcement will ramp up for those stores that have operated illegally and continue to do so.
As of Monday, the province has received 173 paid applications for private cannabis retailers, and has sent 62 of them on to local government or Indigenous nation for final assent before they can legally sell marijuana.
The only one given local approval was the Kamloops store, the first of many LDB and private stores to be licensed in the weeks ahead.