Cannabis security screenings and financial integrity checks

The legalization of non-medical cannabis represents a major shift in public policy. The provincial goals prioritize social responsibility, protecting children and youth, promoting public health and safety, and keeping the criminal element out of cannabis.

To receive a non-medical Cannabis Retail Store (CRS) licence, applicants need to undergo a fit and proper assessment of their suitability to hold a licence.

This is a public safety measure to ensure licensees are eligible to hold a licence, while keeping organized crime and illicit cannabis out of the cannabis industry.

Please note, Cannabis Marketing licence applicants go through security screening but are excluded from financial integrity checks. 

On this page:

What is the fit and proper assessment process?

There are generally two main components in the fit and proper assessment:

  1. Security screening
  2. Financial integrity checks, including
    • Their business
    • Sources of all investment money 

Security screenings and financial integrity checks may also assess an applicant’s associates (a person who may have direct or indirect influence over the applicant, or who may affect the activities carried out under the proposed licence) and people who have a connection to an associate of the applicant. This can include:

  • Investors
  • Family members

The security screening and financial integrity checks are designed to be rigorous and in-depth. The length of time it takes to complete the fit and proper investigation depends on the circumstances of the applicant, their associates, and those connected with the associates.

Rescreening

If an applicant and their associates were found fit and proper to hold a licence within the last three years, the LCRB may apply the determination to future applications for the same applicant entity, as long as no changes have occurred. The general manager of the LCRB has discretion to rescreen an applicant at any time.


Security screening

The security screening is conducted by the Security Programs Division (SPD) as requested by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). The SPD security manager provides their opinion to the LCRB about whether the applicant is fit and proper. As the statutory decision-maker, the LCRB general manager or delegate makes the final determination based on this opinion and other relevant information.

In addition to the below individuals, security screening may be required for those not listed who are associates of the applicant or persons connected to an associate. The following people may require security screening:

  • Directors and officers
  • Shareholders holding at least 10% or more of voting shares 
    • The LCRB may screen shareholders holding less than 10%
  • Directors and officers
 
  • Directors and officers
  • Senior management
  • All partners
  • All general partners
  • Limited partners holding at least a 10% interest in the partnership
    • The LCRB may screen shareholders holding less than 10%
  • Sole proprietor

 

Consent for screening with BC Services Card

As part of a non-medical CRS licence application, applicants and associates generally submit a consent form for screening, although consent is not necessarily required. Visit the forms for sole proprietors and associates of cannabis licence applicants page for more information.

B.C. residents can use their photo BC Services Card to authorize their screening. Visit www.gov.bc.ca/bcservicescardhelp for information about how to set up the card.

Criminal and police record screening

Every applicant’s circumstances are unique. For this reason, a criminal record is reviewed on a case-by-case basis with all available information considered. Criminal and police record screening manages risks to public safety and gives all applicants a fair assessment.

Operation of illegal cannabis stores

Applicants who are operating or have operated an illegal cannabis store must disclose this information to the LCRB in their application.

While this information won’t automatically disqualify an applicant, the operation of an illegal cannabis store may cause the LCRB to determine an applicant is not fit and proper.

When determining if an applicant is fit and proper, the LCRB considers:

  • Any enforcement history or education sessions with the Community Safety Unit
  • The history of the illegal cannabis store

Receiving cannabis related permits or licences from a local government or Indigenous Nation does not guarantee an applicant will receive a provincial CRS licence under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.


Financial integrity check

A financial integrity check may be required of applicants, associates, and persons connected with associates.

Those undergoing financial integrity checks must submit a completed financial integrity form, which collects this information:

  • Past addresses, employment history, corporate associations, and any disciplinary actions
  • Financial accounts, taxes, and loans
  • Connection to federal producers of cannabis
  • Connection, association, or financial interest in another cannabis application

 In addition to the form, those undergoing a financial integrity check must provide these documents for the last three years: 

  • A statement describing all assets and liabilities 
  • Their income tax returns for each jurisdiction in which they filed
  • Their Notice of Assessment (or its equivalent from each jurisdiction) 

 In addition, the following information may be required:

  • Credit bureau reports
  • Details about dispute resolution
  • Litigation
  • Court and bankruptcy proceedings