How To Protect Your Business With The New Government Decriminalization Legislation & Avoid heavy fines
As the President and Founder of Rising Tide Consultants for over 35 years, Bert Hick provides strategic, operational and licensing guidance to the hospitality, retail and cannabis industries. Prior to consulting in the private sector, his knowledge and expertise were initially formed when he was the General Manager of the British Columbia Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. Rising Tide is proud to provide support and offer expert advice for all facets of liquor and cannabis licensing, compliance and enforcement issues for the hospitality and retail industries. Is your hotel maximizing your licensing opportunities to ensure that you are getting the most revenue out of your business? Contact us today - we can tell you how you can!
There are some important current issues affecting the hotel business, and we would like to offer operators some guidance and advice.
How To Protect Your Business With The New Government Decriminalization Legislation.
The recent British Columbia decriminalization legislation has caused confusion as to what this means for industry operators and their businesses, and we can offer some clarity with regard to this issue.
Operators remain responsible for adhering to the terms and conditions of their licences. This includes the prohibition of allowing patrons to become intoxicated, allowing intoxicated patrons to remain on the premises through the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs and prohibiting the possession, use or sale of illicit substances/drugs by any person, staff, vendor or customer.
We are making the following recommendations given this new legislation.
1) If you do not already have a drug and alcohol policy in place for your establishment, then it is important to create one that addresses how drugs and alcohol are treated within your workplace. If you do have a policy in place, this is an opportunity to update the language to clarify that your establishment strictly prohibits the possession and/or use of drugs by staff, management, vendors or customers. By the new law, people are able to legally possess up to 2.5g of certain drugs (this includes opioids, crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA), but your policy may maintain that the possession, use and/or sale of drugs within your establishment is strictly prohibited.
2) Post a sign at the front door, in the washrooms and in your staff areas that state your business has a zero-tolerance policy with regard to drugs and that the possession, consumption or sale of drugs on the premises is strictly prohibited.
3) Educate your staff on the awareness of impairment signs and duty of care to prevent liability with the overuse of alcohol when mixed with drugs.
4) Enforce the rule that if a person, staff member or customer, is seen using drugs, they are to be removed from the premises immediately.
5) It is important to be clear that decriminalization by the government does not mean that the possession, use or sale of drugs will be tolerated at your business.
The above points will not only help you avoid problems with drug use but also aid with the defence of due diligence in the case of an incident.
Rising Tide can help you write and implement policies and procedures to protect your business and ensure you are in compliance.
Contact us today. We're here to help!
How to Avoid a $7,000 Fine and a possible 21-day Suspension for your Business
The Minors as Agents program is funded and regulated by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, whereby “youthful-appearing adults” are recruited to attempt to purchase liquor on the Branch’s behalf from businesses selling liquor or cannabis. The youthful appearance of the agents is intended to raise concerns by employees as to whether or not the agents were minors and proceed to require two pieces of proper identification before the purchase of liquor or cannabis is allowed. The issue is the agents can often appear older, and if a judgment call is made to not ask for ID, the business can be in some very hot water.
The first infraction is a $7,000 FINE. If you pay this fine and the infraction goes on your permanent record, then your second infraction within a calendar year (and you can be sure that they will be targeting your establishment again) could result in a higher fine or potentially a 21-DAY SUSPENSION of your liquor license.
The Government has increased its focus on this program and is ramping up inspections and enforcement. Although It is commonly thought that retail liquor stores are the main targeted businesses for this initiative, it actually applies to all liquor primary, food primary, restaurants, pubs, and hotels.
At Rising Tide, we provide support, knowledge and expertise in all facets of liquor licensing, compliance and enforcement issues, so we can help with updated Policy and Procedure manuals, training on ID protocols and placement of appropriate ID signage within your establishment so that your staff are armed with the right information and training to lay the proper groundwork to avoid penalties or dispute a charge if you are caught in non-compliance.
We also do audits of licensed establishments to make sure they can pass a routine inspection by ensuring the proper policies and procedures are in place.
Contact us today. We're here to help!
On January 31, British Columbia decriminalized the personal possession of small amounts of certain drugs. This means that, beginning January 31, adults will not be subjected to criminal charges for the personal possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs, and the drugs will not be seized.
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