Cannabis store in Kelowna faces hefty fine for selling to minor

Cannabis store in Kelowna faces

A cannabis store in Kelowna has been ordered to pay a $7,000 fine for failing to check the ID of a minor who bought cannabis gummies in July 2023. The store, Kiaro Cannabis, was caught in a targeted inspection by the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) as part of its Minors as Agents Program (MAP).

How the store violated the law

According to the LCRB’s decision, which was posted on February 14, 2024, the incident happened on July 12, 2023, shortly after 8 pm. A 17-year-old agent, working with an inspector, entered the store and asked for “some gummies”. The store clerk, who was also the manager on duty (MOD), sold the agent a five-pack of Strawberry Mango SOURZ by Spinach for $7.05. At no time during the sales transaction did the MOD or the other employee in the store request any identification to confirm the age of the minor agent.

The LCRB alleged that the licensee (Kiaro Cannabis) sold cannabis to a minor, which is a contravention of section 33(1)(a) of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA). The licensee admitted to the contravention, but argued that it was “just a miss on his (the MOD’s) part” and that the store had adequate training and policies for checking ID.

Why the store’s defence was rejected

The LCRB rejected the licensee’s defence of due diligence, which is a legal principle that allows a licensee to avoid liability if it can prove that it took reasonable steps to prevent the contravention from occurring. The LCRB acknowledged that the licensee had an effective training program and an ID policy for teaching its employees when and how to request ID. However, the LCRB found that there was a lack of evidence about how the policies were implemented in the Kelowna store where the contravention occurred.

Cannabis store in Kelowna faces

The LCRB noted that the licensee did not provide any records of the daily meetings, the incident logs, or the handbooks that were supposed to be used to reinforce the ID policy. The LCRB also noted that the licensee did not take any corrective actions after the contravention, such as retraining the staff, reviewing the ID policy, or implementing additional measures to prevent future violations. The LCRB concluded that the licensee had not demonstrated due diligence and imposed a monetary penalty of $7,000, which is the minimum amount for a first offence of this type.

What the store can do next

The licensee has the right to apply for a reconsideration of the LCRB’s decision within 30 days, according to the CCLA. The licensee can also appeal the decision to the BC Supreme Court within 30 days of receiving the reconsideration decision, if it is not satisfied with the outcome.

The LCRB also suggested that the licensee consider introducing a pop-up question on its point of sale system, where an employee must answer yes or no to “have you asked for ID?” before being able to complete a sale. This is a measure that some other cannabis retailers have adopted to ensure compliance with the ID requirement.

How the LCRB enforces the law

The LCRB is the provincial agency responsible for regulating the sale and distribution of non-medical cannabis in BC. The LCRB conducts inspections and investigations to ensure that cannabis retailers comply with the CCLA and its regulations. The LCRB also administers the MAP, which uses young people under the age of 19 to test if cannabis and liquor stores are checking IDs. The MAP works with two adult agents and one minor agent, who attempt to purchase cannabis or liquor from licensed establishments. If the purchase is successful, the LCRB issues a notice of enforcement action to the licensee, which may result in a suspension or a fine.

The LCRB publishes its enforcement decisions on its website, where the public can access information about the contraventions, the penalties, and the reasons for the decisions. The LCRB says that its enforcement actions are intended to protect public safety, deter future non-compliance, and educate licensees and the public about the law.

By Benjamin Parker

Benjamin Parker is a seasoned senior content writer specializing in the CBD niche at CBD Strains Only. With a wealth of experience and expertise in the field, Benjamin is dedicated to providing readers with comprehensive and insightful content on all things CBD-related. His in-depth knowledge and passion for the benefits of CBD shine through in his articles, offering readers a deeper understanding of the industry and its potential for promoting health and wellness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts