Government to allow private enterprise to sell cannabis

Above: Minister Ganley announces Bill 26 with Ken Kobly and Jeff Mooij.

by Morinville News Staff

Private enterprise will be able to sell cannabis in Alberta, but online sales will be under government control, the government announced Thursday.

Following months of public engagement, the province is moving forward with legislation it says would manage legalized cannabis in Alberta with health and safety top of mind.

The proposed legislation, An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis, makes amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act, to be renamed the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.

Many of the details outlined in the Alberta Cannabis Framework, released in October, will be included in the revised Act.

The Act would allow for two kinds of cannabis retail sales in Alberta: privately operated physical retail locations and government-operated online retail. Private retail will come under the oversight of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission; however, details on licensing will not be available until early next year.

“This legislation represents the culmination of extensive engagement and research on legalized cannabis,” Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General said. “It puts our province in a position to not only meet the federal deadline of July 2018, but does so in a way that is responsible and promotes public health and safety for all Albertans.”

Alberta’s proposed legislation sets the minimum age for purchase and use at 18, establish provincial offences for anyone under 18 who possesses five grams or less of cannabis, and gives AGLC the mandate to oversee distribution, compliance and enforcement of the cannabis retail system in Alberta.

Additionally, the legislation bans co-location of cannabis sales with alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco sales, and establishes restrictions around where cannabis can be smoked and vaped in public.

Advertising, labelling, and promotion of cannabis will be regulated if required after federal regulations are established.

Ken Kobly, president & CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce, said his organization is pleased with the government’s announcement to go with the private retail model. “This direction strikes a healthy balance that supports free enterprise, responsible government and the safety of Albertans,” he said.

Additional aspects of the Alberta Cannabis Framework, including details about drug-impaired driving, taxation and workplace safety, will be included through updates to other pieces of legislation before July 2018.

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