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Alberta unveils marijuana framework, calls for minimum age of 18 to buy

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Alberta unveils marijuana framework, calls for minimum age of 18 to buy

Public feedback sought until Oct. 27 on proposed rules

By Dave Dormer, CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2017 10:30 AM MT Last Updated: Oct 04, 2017 6:18 PM MT


Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has announced the province's draft framework for marijuana legalization.

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has announced the province's draft framework for marijuana legalization. (CBC)




Alberta has unveiled its proposed framework for marijuana legalization, which calls for a minimum age of 18 to buy or use cannabis. 


Other proposed rules include:

  • Public possession limit of 30 grams (with no limit on possession in private residences).
  Sales will be in specialty stores, separate from alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.   Limit of 30 grams per purchase.   Smoking and vaping in public will fall under existing tobacco laws.    No smoking or vaping in vehicles, including passengers.   Four plants can be grown per household, to a maximum height of one metre each.   Outdoor growing will be banned.

Albertans will have until Oct. 27 to give feedback on the rules.


Lobby well underway in Alberta to influence final decisions of cannabis legalization  

Hours of operation and buffer zones for stores will be standardized by the province, but haven't been set yet.


The province has yet to decide whether stores selling marijuana will be publicly or privately run, but the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will serve as the central wholesaler for all products, ensuring "a level playing field" for large and small producers.


"Some of the pros with respect to a government-owned system would be that it allows us slightly greater control in terms of ensuring product isn't flowing in and out from a black or grey market, and it allows us a little bit better control of ensuring we're keeping it out of the hands of minors," said the province's Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.


"With respect to a private system, it's a little bit easier to set up. It's likely there would be a little bit more risk and a little bit more cost up front with a public model."


Speaking on The Calgary Eyeopener a few hours before the rules were announced, Alberta Liquor Store Association president Ivonne Martinez said sales should be done by liquor retailers, but in a separate space. 


"The best way to describe it is portioning off part of a liquor store, so separate walls, separate entrance, separate business altogether," she said. "So they'll be side by side in the same location, but two different businesses.


"Our businesses are all already sound municipally to sell a controlled substance, to be away from schools and playgrounds, as well as, all of our owners go through background checks."

Online sales will not be allowed, at first.


"We recognize the importance of this option being available, but we want to be absolutely confident we can verify the person ordering cannabis and the person accepting delivery is of age," said Ganley.


For those who want to produce their own marijuana, Albertans will be able to grow up to four plants per household, to a maximum height of one metre, and outdoor growing will be banned.

No price set

The proposed price of marijuana has not been set under the draft framework, and will depend on taxation, which is still being discussed by the federal government and the provinces, said Ganley.


Pricing will be set with the goal of reducing the black market.


The province also wants to keep a majority of the tax revenue from marijuana sales, which Ganley said is not expected to cover the cost of setting up and running the system.


"There's a couple of factors, one is that in order to ensure we move as many people as possible from the illegal market to the legal market, we can't set the tax rate too high," she said.


"And given that the provinces are bearing the majority of the costs of setting up this system, we are suggesting most of that revenue should be coming to us."

Where cannabis can be used

Public consumption will be restricted, and locations where it can be smoked or vaped will fall under existing municipal smoking laws, meaning hospitals and school grounds will be off limits, along with areas frequented by children like playgrounds, sports fields, zoos, public washrooms and skateboard parks.


Consumption will also not be allowed in retail stores, meaning no sampling.


Cannabis cafés and lounges will be outlawed initially, but the province is seeking feedback from Albertans on that issue.


Legislation surrounding drug-impaired driving will be introduced before the July legalization.

Zero tolerance for minors

There will be zero tolerance for cannabis use by minors.


Possession of less than five grams by anyone under 18 will result in the marijuana being seized, parents being notified and a ticket, while possession of more than five grams will result in criminal prosecution for minors.


Ontario was the first province to unveil its rules around marijuana, about a month ago.


Feedback gathered will be used to draft legislation for marijuana use, which Ganley said will be presented by the province later this year.

Anti-smoking lobby concerns

The province's anti-smoking lobbyists worry talk about legalizing cannabis could normalize smoking once again.


"To a five-year-old, it doesn't matter whether it's someone smoking cannabis or e-cigarettes or a water pipe or a real cigarette, it's all smoking," said Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health


"So those are all impressions. Over time, those impressions weaken the resolve of children, and they do contribute to the uptake of tobacco use among kids."

With files from The Calgary Eyeopener





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Cannabis consortium eyes Alberta

By Reid Southwick, Postmedia

First posted: Thursday, October 05, 2017


A dozen cannabis producers from across Canada want to launch a co-operative in Alberta, where they would sell the drug online and in street-level stores — and they're promising extra revenues for the government.


A day after the province re-opened public consultations on a new cannabis market — leaving its options open on whether to pursue privately or publicly run stores — the Canadian Cannabis Co-op said its proposed retail model poses no risks or costs to taxpayers.


“There is no reason for Alberta to dump hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars, to build out a retail network,” said Allan Rewak, of the Ontario producer and co-op member Newstrike Resources.


The co-op, featuring some highly valued producers, such as Aphria Inc. which is valued at $1 billion, and smaller players like Newstrike, has pitched a model of 50 Alberta stores employing an estimated 500 people, with $30 million in annual wages.


The group said its model could grow or shrink, depending on the number of stores the province allows, but would cost its members tens of millions of dollars to finance.

It's also willing to sweeten the deal by paying the provincial government a dividend, an undisclosed share of revenues beyond tax dollars.


"Alberta has got a rich history of private-sector retail and distribution, particularly for alcohol... and we think it's a good starting point for the co-op," said Darren Karasiuk, chairman of the organization's working group, adding the co-op has ambitions to expand into other provinces and welcome new members.


Karasiuk said the co-op is not looking for a monopoly, and doesn't represent a majority of licensed producers. But he said the co-operative model gives smaller growers leverage they wouldn't otherwise have when the group negotiates with a single, large buyer, such as the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, which will handle wholesale distribution of cannabis.


Noticeably absent from the roster of co-op members are any Alberta producers. The province is home to four companies with federal licenses to grow marijuana, but only one — Canada's second-largest, publicly traded producer Aurora Cannabis — has a license to sell.


Cam Battley, Aurora's executive vice-president, said the company has chosen to stay out of the co-op for now as it awaits more clarity on how the cannabis market will operate in Alberta and elsewhere before it finalizes its retail plans. 


Battley said the company is still considering whether it will open its own stores, or it may join the co-op, though all of it depends on the retail models the provinces adopt.


So far, Ontario has decided to open government-owned and operated stores. Alberta hasn't selected a model yet, but announced this week it will hold a second round of consultations to determine the model, among other things, before introducing legislation this winter.


"We are very focused on seeing that the benefits of the expansion of this new industry flow to all sizes of organization," Battley said. "That's the best way to ensure broad social acceptance, and the broadest possible opportunities to participate in a brand new, emerging market."


The Alberta government said this week it may not immediately allow for online sales of cannabis when the drug is legalized July 1, given concerns about verifying the buyer and person accepting home delivery are of legal age.


Karasiuk said the co-op is confident it could roll out an online distribution model with the proper checks and balances.


The group plans to press its case with the government during this round of public consultations, which ends Oct. 27.





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Alberta and BC seem to be leading the field with different ideas at the moment, away from government retail outlets

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 3:49 PM, Shadey said:

Alberta and BC seem to be leading the field with different ideas at the moment, away from government retail outlets


Interesting, is Legalization an "experiment?"


Yes or No, I like the diversity! Let's get the best legalized system; competitive models sounds good!


Let the learning begin!

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Is Legalization an experiment?   I have not thought of it that way before. It could be, I hope not. Experiments get stopped if the results are not what is being looked for. In such a case as the government corporations cant compete with the black market  because of all the regulations and taxes.They would either pass it to the private sector :rahrah: or shut it right down :boo: which I cant really see happening, as the big boys are already rubbing their hands together, whilst gearing up for it. They would be pretty pissed off if that big fat cash cow stampeded out of the corral and into the sunset lol.


2 hours ago, notsofasteddie said:

competitive models sounds good!


I totally agree Slow Edward, competition pushes innovation constantly, as well as balancing the financial side of the market along with quality of product. People can only vote with their money for products, if the product is crap no one will buy it, so you have to constantly refine and improve, find a niche in the market or drop out.


In a closed market you have no other choice, than to accept a product and price good or not, or go to the dark side, for what you need or can afford. Or grow it yourself which I think will become more utilized after a while, depending on license fees and seed choices from the LP's, unless that option is shut down or laws changed, due to being to much competition. I would like to think that all the growers and pioneers, with years of experience in this field, would get a chance to make a legal living from it now, should they wish to do so, and not get shut out of the deal. It will be interesting for sure.

Edited by Shadey

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