British Columbia Cannabis Retail Licensing

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Cannabis retail in British Columbia is regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). The LCRB licenses and monitors private non-medical cannabis retail stores. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is the sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia. 

The LDB is the government retailer of recreational cannabis in the province as well. The LDB operates public cannabis stores and the sole online e-commerce in the province through the brand, BC Cannabis Stores.

Retailers in the province are not permitted to purchase any cannabis products directly from licensed producers or any other source other than the LDB.

Those interested in operating a private cannabis retail store in British Columbia must obtain a licence to do so. There are 2 non-medical cannabis licences offered in British Columbia:

  • Cannabis Retail Store License – A non-medical cannabis retail store license allows licensees to sell non-medical cannabis and cannabis accessories in B.C. Licensees can only sell federally approved cannabis products.
  • Cannabis Marketing License – A marketing license allows marketers to promote the products of licensed federal cannabis producers to licensed cannabis retail stores and people over 19-years-old.

Private cannabis retailers may only hold eight (8) total retail store licenses

There are 8 general steps to follow when applying for a Cannabis Retail Store Licence in BC:

  1. Check your local government or Indigenous Nation’s requirements (development permits, zoning, etc.)
  2. Review the location requirements to ensure your store meets the necessary standards
  3. Complete the Business Financial Integrity form
  4. Gather physical store details (e.g. floor plan, site plan, photos of the store exterior, signage, storage areas)
  5. Gather required documents and business information (e.g. corporate documentation, tax documents, etc.)
  6. Review and prepare required documents for associates
  7. Upload documents online (applications are submitted through the Liquor and Cannabis Licensing Portal with your BCeID) and pay fees (application fee of $7500 includes security screening and financial integrity checks + first-year licensing fee of $1,500)
  8. Wait for approval in principle, if granted

British Columbia’s Farm-Gate Program

  • LCRB will be licensing Farm-Gate Cannabis Sales starting in 2022, likely through a new licence class (e.g. Producer Retail Store Licence) however the government is still in the process of finalizing details.
  • Farm-Gate stores will likely retain many features of the current federal and provincial legal framework for cannabis retail sales (e.g. indigenous/local government comments, secure storage, selling/promoting cannabis)
  • The Farm-Gate program will be eligible for standard cultivators, micro-cultivators and nursery licence holders. Licensees who hold a processing licence in combination with a cultivation licence will still be eligible, however stand-alone processors (with no cultivation licence) will NOT be eligible.

LDB’s Direct Delivery Program (DDP)

british columbia cannabis license
  • LCRB will be licensing Farm-Gate Cannabis Sales starting in 2022, likely through a new licence class (e.g. Producer Retail Store Licence) however the government is still in the process of finalizing details.
  • Farm-Gate stores will likely retain many features of the current federal and provincial legal framework for cannabis retail sales (e.g. indigenous/local government comments, secure storage, selling/promoting cannabis)
  • The Farm-Gate program will be eligible for standard cultivators, micro-cultivators and nursery licence holders. Licensees who hold a processing licence in combination with a cultivation licence will still be eligible, however stand-alone processors (with no cultivation licence) will NOT be eligible.

Other Upcoming Projects

BC Cannabis Secretariat is seeking feedback on “Non-Medical Cannabis Consumption Space” which would be considered a business/special event at which patrons would be permitted to purchase and consume non-medical cannabis. BC has not decided whether it will pursue this, but a preliminary engagement session is to be held with key stakeholder groups and the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. The only legal place to purchase non-medical cannabis online in BC is www.bccannabisstores.com. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is the sole, wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis for the province and operates standalone, public retail stores as well as the province’s sole online storefront under the BC Cannabis Stores brand.
To operate a private cannabis retail store in British Columbia, you must obtain a licence to do so. There are 2 non-medical cannabis licences offered in British Columbia:
  • Cannabis Retail Store Licence – A non-medical cannabis retail store licence allows licensees to sell non-medical cannabis and cannabis accessories in B.C. Licensees can only sell federally approved cannabis products.
  • Cannabis Marketing Licence – A marketing licence allows marketers to promote the products of licensed federal cannabis producers to licensed cannabis retail stores and people over 19-years-old.
There are 8 general steps to follow when applying for a Cannabis Retail Store Licence in BC. Contact Cannabis License Experts to find out more!
In British Columbia, there’s a licence for that! The Cannabis Marketing Licence allows individuals to promote/market cannabis products that are manufactured by licensed federal cannabis producers to licensed cannabis retail stores and people over the age of 19. This licence is ideal for individuals that are not looking to become a retailer themselves, but rather just act as a middle-man between the producer and the retailer.
In British Columbia, to become a cannabis retail licensee, you must have your ‘Selling It Right’ certification. Workers who sell or supervise the sale of non-medical cannabis must also complete the training course Selling It Right. Selling It Right is British Columbia’s mandatory responsible service training course for retail non-medical cannabis. The training educates industry members about the responsible sale of cannabis. The course cost is $35.00, plus GST. Local governments may have additional business licence requirements for workers.
The Cannabis Retail Store Licence Application fee, which includes security screening and financial integrity checks for the necessary individuals, is $7,500.
The first-year licensing fee is $1,500 and the annual renewal fee is $1,500.
There is also a security screening renewal fee.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) licenses and monitors private non-medical cannabis retail stores and the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) operates public BC Cannabis Stores. 
For a complete list of all BC Cannabis Stores (government-run) that are open and coming soon, please visit the LDB’s website: https://www.bccannabisstores.com/pages/store-locations
Licensed private cannabis retail stores in BC can be found using this map: https://justice.gov.bc.ca/lcrb/map