Answer "yes" to these questions and your licence application could be tossed

If you’re an applicant awaiting a provincial retail licence in B.C. and you’re still operating in the illicit market, it could be enough to have your application tossed. That’s the takeaway from a new disclosure that has recently been sent to cannabis retail store applicants in the province.

To better enforce provincial cannabis legislation, B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) wants to know if those applying for cannabis licences continue to be associated with unlicensed cannabis businesses. While the province’s Community Safety Unit (CSU) has made more than 260 visits to unlicensed retailers since it was first created by the provincial government, the LCRB has implemented a new (likely more cost-effective) approach by sending a short questionnaire to applicants.

A copy of the cannabis retail store licence eligibility disclosure was shared with Inside the Jar by an applicant. The first of the two yes-or-no questions asks if applicants or any of their associates have “owned, operated, provided financial support to, or received income from an unlicensed cannabis store or retailer” on or after March 1, 2020. The second asks if those associated with the application have been “involved with the distribution or supply of cannabis to a licensed or unlicensed store or retailer” on or after the same date.

While it states that the completion of the questionnaire is voluntary, the failure to complete it “may result in the General Manager being unable to continue with assessing applications in progress, and those applications being deemed abandoned.”

It seems unlikely that licensed stores could have their licenses revoked for prior illicit activity, but a previous letter from the LCRB sent to applicants on Feb. 14 stated that they are “still subject to ongoing fit and proper assessments”.

This article is available under a Canadian Creative Commons licence.