Changes to BC cannabis retail store terms and conditions prevent association with pharmacies or BC government

BC updated their cannabis retail store terms and conditions this week, making changes to how cannabis retailers can associate with other business, and brand their stores. 

Under Associations with Other Businesses, the changes made September 9 prevent a cannabis retailer from selling non-medical cannabis as part of another business (co-location). 

The LCRB also affirms that they do not grant any intellectual property rights with respect to the store name or other branding, including signage, proposed by the applicant as part of the application process or licensee in a store/branding change application. 

In addition, a retailer may not jointly advertise with another business, offer discounts in the store based on purchases in another business, operate a patron loyalty program, whether or not it is in association with another business, or operate a gift card program with a non-cannabis business. 

The changes made under the Branding section include a rule requiring the name of any retail business must have exterior signage that will comply with provincial requirements and be approved by the Province, and cannot use any naming that would lead consumers to associate them with a “pharmacy,” “apothecary,” or “dispensary” that sells medical cannabis. This includes any graphics such as a green cross. Retailers must also not advertise or brand their store in a way that indicates that the store is associated with the government or is exercising a function of the government.

Store names are also not allowed to use language that encourages intoxication.

In addition, changes made to the terms and conditions for retailers in June for a “Sell it Right” retailer training program must be satisfied by September 30, 2020. Any retailer who has not provided this training for any employees must not operate beyond that date. 

Changes made in August to the terms and conditions included allowing consumers to purchase cannabis from a retailers website before picking the purchase up in store, as well as an allowance for gift cards.

An ad for a cannabis company seen recently inside a washroom of a Vancouver Bar