Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance welcomes task force report and pledges to work with B.C. government on implementation
BURNABY – The release of the report by the Federal Task Force on Marijuana Legalization is a welcome step in the implementation of the federal government’s promise to legalize the responsible sale and consumption of non-medical marijuana, says the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of B.C. (RMRABC) today.
“We agree that the retail sale of non-medical marijuana should be regulated by the provinces, in close collaboration with municipal governments,” says B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) president Stephanie Smith. “We believe the most cost efficient and responsible way to proceed is to utilize our current retail and distribution centre network.”
“We will work with the B.C. government to ensure that marijuana is sold in a socially responsible way,” says B.C. Private Liquor Store Association (BCPLSA) representative Damian Kettlewell. “With a compliance rate of over 90 per cent, B.C.’s liquor sales system has a proven track record of responsible sales of controlled substances.”
The alliance noted that it agrees with a policy approach that discourages co-consumption of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco products. However it believes that this goal can be achieved in many ways, including signage, protected point of sale areas and a store-within-a-store model. The alliance is not convinced that access to these products at the same location will necessarily lead to increased co-consumption.
“Public and private liquor stores already have well-trained, knowledgeable staff as recommended by the task force,” says Smith. “Liquor store employees know how to safely retail a controlled substance and have a strong record of controlling access to minors.”
“Public and employee safety is an important consideration,” says Kettlewell. “Existing liquor store outlets are best positioned to ensure the safe, responsible sale of non-medical marijuana to adult consumers.”
The alliance notes that it has received strong community support for its approach to retail marijuana sales, including support from municipalities like Burnaby City Council, including the passing of a council motion on December 6, 2016 supporting the sale of non-medical marijuana through BC's liquor distribution system.