Province laying down additional rules for legal cannabis

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Above: Minister Ganley and Minister Ceci are joined by Alain Maisonneuve, president and CEO, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) to discuss cannabis legalization and amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act.

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta says Albertans’ health and safety will be a top priority as the province looks to modernize the Gaming and Liquor Act ahead of the federal government legalizing cannabis.

Proposed amendments would give the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) the needed tools to oversee and enforce Alberta’s new cannabis market.

“We remain focused on building a system for legal cannabis that prioritizes the safety and security of all Albertans,” Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “These amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act represent another step in our continued work to prepare for the legalization of cannabis.”

The proposed amendments would prohibit retailers from naming and branding cannabis and related products with terms and symbols that have medical connotations, including therapeutic or medicinal.

“Restricting how cannabis retailers name their stores and products is an important step in protecting public health,” said Greg Eberhart, registrar, Alberta College of Pharmacists. “Stores that will sell cannabis for recreational use are not pharmacies, nor will they have professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners. The Alberta College of Pharmacists supports this legislation.”

The new rules would increase the maximum Gaming and Liquor Act and regulation administrative fines for infractions from $200,000 to $1 million.

Additionally, the new rules would allow a court to rely on a law enforcement officer’s ability to infer that a product is cannabis based on its packaging, labelling or smell, for the purposes of offenses under this act, mirroring the current practice for alcohol and tobacco. The proposed changes would also create an offence to enable enforcement against an owner or operator of a premises who allows smoking or vaping of cannabis where it is prohibited, similar to existing rules for alcohol and tobacco.

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Bill 6 can be viewed online at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_29/session_4/20180308_bill-006.pdf

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