Government looking for feedback on cannabis legalization

by Morinville News Staff

The province is preparing for the legalization of cannabis and are seeking input on The Alberta Cannabis Framework, which outlines who will be able to buy it and where, and where they will be allowed to use it.

The government says their framework supports four policy priorities for legalization: keeping cannabis out of the hands of children, promoting public safety on roads, in workplaces, and in public spaces, and protecting public health and limiting the illicit market.

The draft framework sets a minimum age of 18 to purchase and consume cannabis, and a possession limit of 30 grams will be established. Albertans will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants, no taller than one metre, at home for personal use.

Provincial oversight and regulation of wholesaling and distribution of cannabis products will be through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).

The government will impose restrictions on retail locations selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals together with cannabis. There will also be strict rules around zoning retail locations and training for employees.

Although there will be provincewide restrictions on where cannabis can be used in public with an emphasis on protecting children and limiting second-hand exposure, municipalities will be permitted to introduce additional restrictions on public consumption.

Additionally, the province plans to launch new tools to expand the ability of police to address drug-impaired driving.

“I’d like to thank every Albertan who participated in our various engagements regarding cannabis legalization over the summer. With your input, we’ve drafted a proposed framework to manage legalized cannabis in our province,” said Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General in a release. “We look forward to receiving additional feedback from Albertans on this framework.”

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Albertans can take an online survey at https://surveys.advanis.ca/alberta_cannabis_consultation and have until midnight Friday, Oct. 27.

Shortly after the framework was announced, The United Conservative Party called for more stringent guidelines to “ensure the well-being of Albertans.” They asked to extend the consultation period past the current Oct. 27 deadline.

UCP Justice Critics Angela Pitt and Mike Ellis say they want greater detail to ensure that cannabis is kept out of the hands of young people, and to ensure that necessary resources are in place to ensure our municipalities and law enforcement are well supported as we move closer to the July 1 deadline.

“As we get closer to a July 1, 2018 deadline, we need to be working collaboratively with those who will be directly impacted by these changes to ensure that we can keep our communities safe, and healthy,” Pitt said. “Many questions remain about public awareness, and workplace safety concerns.”

A final version of the framework and legislation is expected to be introduced later this winter.

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