Alberta Proposes Legislation on Cannabis

Private retailers given the green light

The province is moving forward with An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis that would allow for two kinds of cannabis retail sales in Alberta: privately operated physical retail locations and government-operated online retail. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission would be responsible for oversight of private retail, and details on licensing will be available early next year.The new legislation involves making amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act, which would be renamed the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. These amendments would include many of the details outlined in the Alberta Cannabis Framework, released in October.

Under the proposed legislation, the province would:

  • Set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18.
  • Establish provincial offences for anyone under 18 who possesses five grams or less of cannabis.
  • Give AGLC the mandate to oversee distribution, compliance and enforcement of the cannabis retail system in Alberta.
  • Establish authority to set regulatory guidelines and licence requirements for private cannabis retailers.
  • Ban co-location of cannabis sales with alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco sales.
  • Operate online cannabis sales.
  • Establish restrictions around where cannabis can be smoked and vaped in public.
  • Establish authority to further regulate advertising, labelling, and promotion of cannabis if required after federal regulations are established.

“We are pleased with the government’s announcement to go with the private retail model as cannabis becomes legalized by July 2018,” says Ken Kobly, president & CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce. “This direction strikes a healthy balance that supports free enterprise, responsible government, and the safety of Albertans.”

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

Full details of the proposed legislation and engagement results are available online.

See details on Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis

Photo caption: Minister Ganley announces Bill 26 with Ken Kobly and Jeff Mooij