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Will British Columbia’s New Leader Usher in Beer-N-Bud Stores?

Published on May 30, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020
BCNDP Island Tour March 8-11

British Columbia’s near-term political future was settled this afternoon when NDP Leader John Horgan (pictured above) and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver signed an agreement that will see the two parties form the province’s first minority government in more than half a century.

What does that mean for the future of cannabis in the province? Plenty, actually.

The NDP wants to see cannabis distributed through existing liquor stores.

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed federal legalization plan, cannabis regulation will fall largely upon officials in each province. Therefore the BC New Democratic Party and the BC Greens, together, will be responsible for determining distribution models and age limits.

The NDP has gone on record supporting distribution through liquor store outlets. The party has considerable support from the unions, who would presumably have a place at the table when it comes to determining transport and distribution methods.

According to MLA Carol James of Victoria, the NDP will be consulting with stakeholders as the legalization process moves forward.  Victoria, the provincial capital, has the most dispensaries per capita in the nation and the industry has proven to be a political force on Vancouver Island.

Both Vancouver and Victoria have begun issuing city licences for dispensaries to insure responsible distribution of cannabis prior to legalization on a federal level.

Greens Wants Craft Scale Cannabis

If the NDP’s chief concerns around cannabis have to do with unions, the BC Greens seems to be more focused on the industry’s environmental sustainability, and insuring that smaller independent entrepreneurs have a chance to thrive.

british-columbia-greens-andrew-weaver (1)

Green Leader Weaver: Craft scale champion.

The Greens support a craft industry similar to the craft beer model, in which regulators carve out a space for small-batch farmers.

According to the federal Cannabis Act (C-45), the federal government will be responsible for issuing cultivation licences through Health Canada. Communities and regions throughout BC will be impacted economically if the BC Bud industry is not protected and included in the new regulated regime.

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The BC Liberal leader, Christy Clark announced today that she will follow constitutional law and wait for her government to be dissolved by the lieutenant governor through a no-confidence vote in the legislature. The NDP would then form government, with the votes of the Greens, with Clark remaining on as the opposition leader. This is the first time a minority government has taken power in British Columbia since the 1950s, and the likelihood of another election in the near future is a real possibility.

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Kelly Coulter
Kelly Coulter
Kelly Coulter is a journalist, essayist, and cannabis policy advisor based in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s been writing about and advocating for policy change in the cannabis space for more than 15 years.
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