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No apologies for delays approving private cannabis sales in greater Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 7, 2019 at 7:46 am PDT

FILE - B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks at a press conference in the press gallery at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

British Columbia's Minister of Public Safety is defending the vetting process

Mike Farnworth says efforts are being made to weed out organized crime

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some background checks take longer than others. That’s what we’re hearing as frustration mounts for retailers wanting to sell cannabis in greater Vancouver.

British Columbia’s Minister of Public Safety is defending the vetting process. Mike Farnworth says efforts are being made to weed out organized crime.

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“I can tell you that a significant number of the applications that we have received do require a deeper dive because we find alerts that come up in the initial background checks that there are some issues, whether or not they’re criminal, but have to be thoroughly examined,” he says. “The fact that we’ve got extensive background checks tells me that the process is working.”

That’s why he insists this process has no set timeline, nearly six months after marijuana became legal.

“All applications to sell retail cannabis through private stores have to receive the approval of the local government,” he says. “They also have to undergo an extensive background check by the province and then, and only then, will a licence be issued.”

And after those six months, he admits supply stocks are short.

RELATED: Frustration mounts for private retailers who want to sell cannabis in Vancouver area 

“Not just here,” he says, “but right across the country. B.C. has been pushing the federal level to approve small-scale producers, so we can get that supply into the market.”

Farnworth says that’s partly why Alberta has had to delay its licensing approval.