A quick round-up of end of year wine law issues in BC and Canada:
BC LCLB General Manager Departs. Douglas Scott, the current General Manager of BC's Liquor Licensing and Control Branch, is leaving the Branch in early January to move to a new position within the Government dealing with Aboriginal Relations. Doug led the Branch through a time of many changes including the implementation of nearly all of the recommendations arising from the Liquor Policy Review. His replacement will be Michelle Carr, who is currently with the BC Environmental Assessment Office.
BCWA Plebiscite Changes. Some of the changes approved by the recent BC Wine Authority plebiscite have now been enacted: see "BC changes regulations for wine labelling" and here is a link to the Order in Council that enacts the changes - incidentally, the government is changing the name of the statute that governs BC wine from the rather obtuse "Agri-Food Choice and Quality Act" to the more sensible "Food and Agricultural Products Classification Act" (nice to see wine classified as an agricultural product!).
Federal Marijuana Report - Interprovincial Shipments. The federal government's report on marijuana legalization has now been released including recommendations that cannabis be available from retail storefronts and that the existing mail order system be continued (it is currently legal for medical marijuana to be shipped through the mail and between provinces). In respect of retail sales, the report advocates a separation of cannabis sales from the sale of alcohol and tobacco ... which, if implemented, would prevent sales through existing government or private liquor stores. In addition, if the recommendation to continue with mail order sales is adopted, then the federal government may wish to also address the continued problems with interprovincial wine sales. It would make little sense to allow a new regime for cannabis sales which permits interprovincial shipment but to not resolve the longstanding issues with interprovincial alcohol sales at the same time. It would be relatively easy to do both by establishing permissible amounts for interprovincial shipment of both cannabis and alcohol through a federal level exemption.
Wine Law Conference 2017. The date for the 2017 BC Wine & Liquor Law Conference is February 14th (Valentine's Day!). The agenda is excellent including a review of BC's new Liquor Control & Licensing Act as well as its accompanying regulations, review of the new legislation's effect on industry and local government, discussion of wine labeling requirements and related issues, provision of an update on cases dealing with interprovincial shipping, and the effects on the industry of national trends in liquor law reform. Full details and registration are here: 2017 BC Wine & Liquor Law Conference.