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This Act is current to August 8, 2018
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Cannabis Distribution Act

[SBC 2018] CHAPTER 28

Assented to May 31, 2018

Contents
Part 1 — Definitions and Application
1Definitions
2Application
Part 2 — Distribution and Retail of Cannabis
3Government may buy and sell cannabis
4Designation of administrator
5Operation of distribution and retail business
6Registration of cannabis products
7Accountability of administrator
Part 3 — Funding and Other Support
8Definitions and application
9Receipts and financial management
10Annual report
11Support from Liquor Distribution Branch
Part 4 — General
12Prohibition on inducements
13Prohibition on cannabis interests
14Confidentiality and information-sharing
15Time limit for judicial review
16Certified copies of records
Part 5 — Offences and Penalties
17Offences
18Corporate liability
19Penalties
20Section 5 of Offence Act does not apply
Part 6 — Regulations
21Regulations of Lieutenant Governor in Council
Part 7 — Transitional Provision
22Transition — regulations
23Commencement

Part 1 — Definitions and Application

Definitions

1   In this Act:

"administrator" means the individual designated under section 4 or, if none is designated, the minister;

"cannabis" has the same meaning as in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;

"cannabis accessory" has the same meaning as in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;

"cannabis official" means each of the following:

(a) the minister;

(b) the administrator;

(c) an employee of the government who is employed in the administration of this Act;

"cannabis records and information" means records and information in the custody or under the control of the administrator;

"federal producer" has the same meaning as in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;

"industrial hemp" has the same meaning as in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;

"medical cannabis" has the same meaning as in the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

Application

2   This Act does not apply in relation to medical cannabis or industrial hemp.

Part 2 — Distribution and Retail of Cannabis

Government may buy and sell cannabis

3   (1) Subject to this section and any regulations, the government may buy and sell cannabis and cannabis accessories.

(2) The government may not sell cannabis unless

(a) the cannabis was produced by a federal producer for commercial purposes, and

(b) the government

(i) keeps records of the cannabis it possesses for commercial purposes, and

(ii) takes adequate measures to reduce the risk of the cannabis that it possesses for commercial purposes being diverted to an illicit market or activity.

(3) The government may not sell cannabis or cannabis accessories to an individual who is under 19 years of age.

(4) The government may not sell cannabis to a consumer unless the cannabis is registered as a cannabis product under section 6.

Designation of administrator

4   The minister may, by order, designate an employee of the government to administer this Act on behalf of the government.

Operation of distribution and retail business

5   (1) The administrator may establish and operate on behalf of the government

(a) warehouses for the storage and distribution of cannabis and cannabis accessories, and

(b) stores for the sale of cannabis and cannabis accessories to consumers and an online system for the sale of cannabis and cannabis accessories to retailers and consumers.

(2) The administrator may acquire and dispose of land on behalf of the government for the purposes of subsection (1).

(3) Subject to section 14 [confidentiality and information-sharing], the administrator may enter into agreements on behalf of the government for

(a) the purposes of section 3 (1) [government may buy and sell cannabis], and

(b) any other purpose of this Act.

Registration of cannabis products

6   (1) For the purposes of section 3 (4) [government sale of cannabis to consumers] of this Act and section 15 (c) [sale by licensees] of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the administrator may register cannabis as a cannabis product.

(2) Without limiting the discretion of the administrator, the administrator may consider one or more of the following in determining whether to register cannabis as a cannabis product under subsection (1):

(a) the promotion of social responsibility in relation to cannabis;

(b) the nature, packaging and promotion of the cannabis;

(c) any prescribed criteria.

Accountability of administrator

7   (1) The administrator must report to the minister as the minister requires.

(2) The administrator must administer this Act

(a) in accordance with any general or special directions of the minister, and

(b) subject to paragraph (a), so as to

(i) promote social responsibility in British Columbia in relation to cannabis, and

(ii) establish the government as the sole supplier of cannabis to retailers in British Columbia.

Part 3 — Funding and Other Support

Definitions and application

8   (1) In this Part:

"cannabis revenue" means money received from the sale of cannabis or otherwise arising out of the administration of this Act;

"general manager" has the same meaning as in the Liquor Distribution Act;

"Liquor Distribution Branch" means the Liquor Distribution Branch continued under section 2 of the Liquor Distribution Act;

"liquor revenue" means money received from the sale of liquor or otherwise arising out of the administration of the Liquor Distribution Act.

(2) Sections 9 and 11 apply despite any other Act, including, without limitation, the Liquor Distribution Act and the Financial Administration Act.

Receipts and financial management

9   (1) Cannabis revenue must, at the close of each day's business, be applied, first, for the administration of this Act and, after that application, any balance remaining must be paid promptly into the consolidated revenue fund.

(2) If cannabis revenue is insufficient for the administration of this Act, the amount of the deficiency must be advanced from the consolidated revenue fund in accordance with arrangements made by the Minister of Finance.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2),

(a) each advance from the consolidated revenue fund must be recorded to the satisfaction of the Minister of Finance and reported to that minister, and

(b) the Comptroller General may direct the methods and procedures to be employed in administering this section.

Annual report

10   (1) The administrator must prepare and forward annually to the minister a report for the 12-month period ending on March 31 of the year in which the report is made.

(2) The annual report must contain the following:

(a) a report on the administration of this Act for that period;

(b) a financial statement, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applied on a basis satisfactory to the Comptroller General, showing

(i) the assets and liabilities at the end of that period that are administered under this Act, and

(ii) the results of the administration of this Act for that period;

(c) any other information requested by the minister.

(3) The minister must lay the report before the Legislative Assembly if it is then sitting, and if it is not sitting, within 15 days after the start of the first session in the following calendar year.

Support from Liquor Distribution Branch

11   If the general manager is designated as the administrator,

(a) administration of this Act is a purpose of the Liquor Distribution Branch,

(b) the general manager may do any of the following for the purpose referred to in paragraph (a):

(i) direct employees referred to in section 12 (3) of the Liquor Distribution Act;

(ii) make use of any right, property or asset of the government, other than liquor revenue unless it is applied under paragraph (c) (i), that the general manager administers under that Act,

(c) despite section 9 (2) of this Act, if cannabis revenue is insufficient for the administration of this Act,

(i) the minister must apply liquor revenue for that purpose, and

(ii) only if cannabis revenue and liquor revenue are both insufficient must the deficiency be advanced under section 9 (2) from the consolidated revenue fund, and

(d) section 10 of this Act does not apply, and the annual report required under section 30 of the Liquor Distribution Act must include the information required by section 10 (2) of this Act.

Part 4 — General

Prohibition on inducements

12   (1) A cannabis official must not, directly or indirectly, solicit or receive an inducement.

(2) A person must not, directly or indirectly, give or offer to give an inducement to a cannabis official.

Prohibition on cannabis interests

13   (1) In this section:

"cannabis official" does not include any of the following:

(a) a worker in a warehouse or store, other than a manager;

(b) a security guard;

(c) a prescribed employee of the government;

"interested person" means a person, other than the government, who does or intends to do any of the following:

(a) produce cannabis for commercial purposes;

(b) sell cannabis;

(c) do business relating to cannabis with the government.

(2) Subject to subsection (4), a cannabis official must not, directly or indirectly, solicit or receive a commission, remuneration, profit or gift from an interested person.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), an interested person must not, directly or indirectly,

(a) pay or offer to pay a commission, remuneration or profit to a cannabis official, or

(b) give or offer to give a gift to a cannabis official.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply in relation to gifts of nominal value.

Confidentiality and information-sharing

14   (1) Subject to subsection (2), a cannabis official must not disclose cannabis records and information.

(2) A cannabis official may disclose cannabis records and information,

(a) if authorized by the regulations, in accordance with those regulations, and

(b) without limiting paragraph (a), in accordance with an agreement under subsection (3).

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the minister may, on behalf of the government, enter into an agreement that provides for the disclosure of cannabis records and information to, and the exchange of similar records and information with, a party to the agreement.

(4) An agreement under subsection (3) may only be entered into with one or more of the following:

(a) a ministry of the government of British Columbia;

(b) another government or an agency of that government;

(c) a prescribed entity.

(5) An agreement under subsection (3) may only be entered into for one or more of the following purposes:

(a) the purposes of the administration or enforcement of

(i) this Act, another enactment relating to cannabis or a prescribed enactment, or

(ii) laws relating to cannabis that are enacted by another government;

(b) a prescribed purpose.

Time limit for judicial review

15   An application for judicial review of a decision of the administrator may not be brought more than 60 days after the date the applicant receives written notice of the decision.

Certified copies of records

16   If the administrator certifies as a true copy a copy of a record in the custody or under the control of the administrator, the certified true copy is admissible in evidence to the same extent as, and has the same evidentiary value as, the original of which it is a copy, without proof of the signature of the administrator.

Part 5 — Offences and Penalties

Offences

17   A person who contravenes any of the following commits an offence:

(a) section 12 (1) or (2) [prohibition on inducements];

(b) section 13 (2) or (3) [prohibition on cannabis interests];

(c) section 14 (1) [confidentiality and information-sharing].

Corporate liability

18   (1) If a corporation commits an offence under section 17 in respect of section 12 (2) or 13 (3), an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence also commits the offence, whether or not the corporation is prosecuted or convicted.

(2) If an employee, officer, director or agent of a corporation commits an offence under section 17 in respect of section 12 (2) or 13 (3) while acting on behalf of the corporation, the corporation also commits the offence, whether or not the employee, officer, director or agent is identified, prosecuted or convicted.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a corporation has the burden of proving that an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation was not acting on behalf of the corporation at the time the employee, officer, director or agent committed an offence referred to in that subsection.

Penalties

19   A person who commits an offence under section 17 (a) or (b) is liable on conviction to the following:

(a) in the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $50 000;

(b) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $10 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both.

Section 5 of Offence Act does not apply

20   Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

Part 6 — Regulations

Regulations of Lieutenant Governor in Council

21   (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) restricting what cannabis or cannabis accessories the government may buy or sell under section 3 (1);

(b) prescribing criteria for the purposes of section 6 (2) (c);

(c) prescribing employees of the government, other than the administrator, for the purposes of the definition of "cannabis official" in section 13 (1);

(d) defining the term "nominal value" for the purposes of section 13 (4), including, without limitation, by specifying a dollar value;

(e) respecting the disclosure of cannabis records and information for the purposes of section 14 (2) (a);

(f) without limiting paragraph (e), deeming a class of cannabis records and information, for the purpose of section 21 (1) (b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, to have been supplied to the government in confidence;

(g) prescribing entities for the purposes of section 14 (4) (c), enactments for the purposes of section 14 (5) (a) (i) and purposes for the purposes of section 14 (5) (b);

(h) establishing classes of cannabis or cannabis accessories and making different regulations in relation to different classes.

Part 7 — Transitional Provision

Transition — regulations

22   (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations considered necessary or advisable for the purpose of more effectively bringing this Act into operation and to avoid any transitional difficulties encountered in doing so.

(2) A regulation under subsection (1) may be made retroactive to the date this section comes into force or a later date and, if made retroactive, is deemed to have come into force on the date specified.

(3) If a regulation under subsection (1) conflicts with another enactment, the regulation prevails.

(4) This section and, unless earlier repealed, any regulations under this section are repealed 3 years after the date this section comes into force.

Commencement

23   This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.