Alberta government announces regulations for private cannabis retailers

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Courtesy of Lift Magazine

The Alberta government announced new policies that will regulate its private cannabis retailers, leaving some room for municipalities to fine-tune some details depending on individual community needs. 

“These regulations focus on keeping our communities safe, while protecting public health and promoting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public spaces,” said Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, in a statement. “They’ll help keep cannabis out of the hands of youth, while ensuring consumers have access to safe products no matter where they live.”

Here are the highlights:

Background checks and training for Alberta retail licence applicants and retail employees will be mandatory

Criminal records, business histories and tax/financial information will be reviewed Anyone with links to organized crime or with a history of drug trafficking will not be issued a licence, but minor cannabis infractions such as possession will not automatically disqualify anyone from participating All employees must be 18+, will require mandatory training and will be tracked in a Qualified Cannabis Employee database SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training will be available online to cannabis retail employees starting May 1

Regulations are designed to promote a competitive and diverse market

One person, group or company is prohibited from holding more than 15 per cent of retail licences in the province Licences will be renewed annually, and the process will be under review in the near future

Cannabis retail outlets must be nowhere near schools and hospitals

There will be a mandatory 100-metre buffer for stores from schools and health-care facilities Municipalities can adjust accordingly depending on community needs

There will be a maximum of 250 stores allowed in the province. Cannabis shops can be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the same hours as liquor stores in the province, but municipalities can also make adjustments. All cannabis products must be locked away and only accessible to employees. No individual sale can exceed 30 grams.

The minimum age to buy cannabis will be 18, and adults can possess up to 30 g of cannabis at a time. Adults in Alberta are permitted to smoke or vape at home and in some public places, but it will be prohibited in cannabis stores, vehicles, and anywhere where smoking is already prohibited, such as schools, hospitals, and within five metres of skateboarding parks and playgrounds.

Adults will be permitted to grow up to four plants per household for personal consumption, but landlord and tenant agreements or condo bylaws can further regulate both consuming cannabis and growing it at home.

Workplace regulations are still under review by reps at the province to ensure they fairly address risk of impairment at work.

The province will being accepting applications for retail licences March 6. Alberta’s Gaming and Liquor Commission will control online sales and regulate all distribution from licensed producers to private retailers. Reps with the provincial government said more details are on the way.

Find out more on the province of Alberta’s website and at AGLC.ca.

Photo of Edmonton courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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