BCGEU and B.C. Private Liquor Store Association announce partnership for distribution and sale of non-medical marijuana

December 2, 2015

News Release
December 2, 2015

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and the B.C. Private Liquor Store Association (BCPLSA) today announced a partnership to advocate for the sale of non-medical marijuana through the existing liquor distribution and retail system, including both public B.C. Liquor Stores and private Liquor Retail Stores (LRS).

The BCGEU and BCPLSA believe this partnership will help enable a safe, responsible and effective system for recreational marijuana in British Columbia. The partnership envisions enabling British Columbians to buy non-medical marijuana throughout age-controlled liquor stores by Christmas of 2016.  

“Just as with alcohol, there are legitimate concerns about access to marijuana by youths. Our stores are an over-19, age-controlled environment and our industry has demonstrated the strongest compliance with identification checks,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. BCGEU represents workers in nearly 200 public B.C. Liquor Stores around the province, and warehouses and distribution centres in Vancouver and Kamloops.

“B.C. needs to ensure that non-medical marijuana is retailed in the most socially responsible way possible. Liquor stores provide the most strictly controlled system for accessing a controlled substance, and are best suited for the retailing of non-medical marijuana. We have an effective warehousing, retail and distribution system in place, there is no need to reinvent the wheel,” said Smith.

The BCGEU and BCPLSA partnership announcement follows Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to move ahead with the legalization of non-medical marijuana for sale to adults across Canada. The partnership applies to the distribution model for legalized, non-medical marijuana and will work alongside the existing and regulated distribution system of marijuana for medical use. Neither BCGEU nor BCPLSA have taken a formal position on the legalization of non-medical marijuana.

“In B.C., we have a successful wine and beer industry that creates good jobs and produces public revenues to fund schools and hospitals. Non-medical marijuana sales should follow a similar model. It would be open to a variety of sizes of producers, including an allowance for personal home production, but with the distribution and sale strictly controlled,” said Damian Kettlewell of the BCPLSA.