Compliance & Enforcement
The Community Safety Unit (CSU) can undertake a range of enforcement activities, including conducting inspections, issuing violation tickets, obtaining warrants and issuing demands for information, summoning witnesses, conducting hearings, seizing cannabis, and issuing administrative monetary penalties. The CSU can also recommend the prosecution of offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
Administrative Monetary Penalties
Community Safety Unit officers are authorized under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act to conduct inspections of premises where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the sale, supply, production, or storage of cannabis has occurred or is occurring. Using their regulatory powers, Community Safety Unit officers may inspect and seize items during their inspection including records and cannabis.
The Director of the CSU or their delegate may issue a Notice of Administrative Monetary Penalty to those who have sold or produced cannabis without a licence. The Notice of Administrative Monetary Penalty will include information on the alleged contravention(s), the amount of monetary penalty, and the option to sign a waiver. The administrative monetary penalty is equal to two times the retail value of the cannabis sold, produced, or possessed for the purpose of sale.
If you have received a Notice of Administrative Monetary Penalty:
- You may sign a waiver accepting the amount of the penalty and waiving your right to an administrative hearing.
- Once the waiver is signed you will be provided a concession order outlining the amount of the penalty, the reasons for imposing the penalty, and the date by which the penalty must be paid.
- If you do not sign a waiver you may request an administrative hearing (see Administrative Hearing Process for more information on the hearing).
Community Safety Unit officers are authorized to issue violation tickets for certain offences under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act by the Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation. If you receive a violation ticket from a Community Safety Unit officer you may:
- Pay the fine; or
- Dispute the violation ticket within 30 days.
Please note that by paying the fine, by failing to dispute the ticket within 30 days, or by disputing and failing to attend your hearing date, you are deemed to have pleaded guilty to the offence under the Offence Act.
Community Safety Unit officers are authorized to seize cannabis under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act both with and without a warrant (see Cannabis Seizures for more information).
Provincial or Criminal Charges
Community Safety Unit officers appointed as Special Provincial Constables may conduct investigations of contraventions of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act in regard to non-licensees, and recommend charges to the British Columbia Prosecution Service. If charges are approved by the British Columbia Prosecution Service, you may have to attend the BC Supreme Court. The consequences for violating the provincial regulatory regime can be severe and may include:
- A fine of up to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both, under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
Criminal charges may also be pursued for certain offences.