Liquor and Cannabis Seizures

Under B.C. law, peace officers may seize liquor that in their opinion is possessed or kept contrary to law. For example:

  • From businesses or establishments:
    • If a licensed establishment does not have a record of the owner having purchased the liquor through the Liquor Distribution Branch;
    • If an establishment or business does not hold a valid liquor licence and is selling liquor.
  • From individuals
    • Who have open liquor in a public place
    • Who are selling liquor in a public place
    • Who are driving with an open liquor bottle in the vehicle (where it is readily accessible to the driver or to passengers)

Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch inspectors may also seize liquor (generally from establishments) where the liquor is possessed or kept contrary to law.

If your Liquor was Seized

Liquor that has been seized will either be destroyed or kept in storage.  If you want to have your liquor returned or be compensated for destroyed liquor, you have 30 days from the time your liquor was seized to apply in writing to the general manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Under section 47(2) of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (LCLA), your claim must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the general manager that you were legally entitled to possess the liquor that was seized.

For commercially manufactured liquor, compensation is based on the lower of the retail price set under the Liquor Distribution Act, the replacement value if there is no set retail price, or the actual price paid for the liquor.  For liquor not manufactured commercially (UBrew and UVin), compensation is based on the lower of the retail price of ingredients used to manufacture the liquor or the actual price paid for those ingredients. A person wanting to apply for the return of seized liquor can do so by filling out the Application for the Return of Seized Liquor (LCRB125).  

Cannabis Seizures

Under B.C. law, Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) inspectors, peace officers, and Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Community Safety Unit (CSU) officers may seize cannabis that is possessed contrary to law. For example:

  • LCRB inspectors can seize cannabis from a licensed non-medical cannabis retail store if there is no record of the owner having purchased the cannabis through the Liquor Distribution Branch.
  • Peace officers and CSU officers can seize cannabis from unlicensed non-medical retailers. 
  • Peace officers can seize cannabis from individuals who are unlawfully in possession of cannabis in excess of the maximum possession limit or those who are operating a vehicle while consuming cannabis.

If your Cannabis was Seized:

  • From a licensed non-medical cannabis retail store:

Cannabis that has been seized from a licensed non-medical cannabis retail store will either be destroyed or kept in storage. A licensee who wishes to have their cannabis returned or to be compensated for destroyed cannabis has 30 days from the time the cannabis was seized to apply in writing to the general manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Under section 105 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA). If the cannabis has been destroyed, the compensation is based on the purchase price that the licensee paid for the seized cannabis.

A licensee wanting to apply for the return of seized cannabis can do so by filling out the Application for the Return of Seized Cannabis (LCRB135)

The licensee's claim must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the general manager that the licensee was legally entitled to possess the cannabis that was seized, at the time of the seizure. If there has been a violation ticket issued or a charge laid under the CCLA, the general manager may decide to postpone the decision until the proceedings are complete.

  • From a person who is not a licensee:

Cannabis that has been seized under the CCLA from a person who is not a licensee will either be destroyed or kept in storage. A person who wishes to have their cannabis returned or to be compensated for destroyed cannabis has 30 days from the time the cannabis was seized to apply to the Director of the Community Safety Unit, under section 105 of the CCLA. The person's claim just demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Director that the person was legally entitled to possess the cannabis that was seized at the time of the seizure. 

 

For more information about claiming seized liquor or cannabis, Contact Us.