Alberta Planning For Private Cannabis Stores, Gov't-Controlled Online Sales: Reports

Alberta is following Manitoba’s lead in terms of a hybrid private-public cannabis retail model.

Postmedia reports that Alberta cannabis consumers will have the option of shopping in private brick-and-mortar stores or through government-controlled online hubs. This legislation will be introduced next week.

Sources say the proposed system of government-controlled online sales is aimed at responding to concerns raised by citizens in response to the NDP’s planned cannabis framework.

In early October, the Alberta government unveiled its cannabis plan ahead of Canada-wide recreational legalization next July. Its proposed guidelines include: restricting public possession to 30 grams; limiting sales to specialty stores separate from alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals; prohibiting smoking or vaping in vehicles; limiting purchases to 30 grams; allowing households to grow up to four plants; and banning outdoor growing. 

That plan also includes a minimum age of 18 for purchasing and consuming cannabis.

At the time, government officials suggested they were open to a private retail model.

"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 Alberta’s Justice Minister, Kathleen Ganley, when the plan was first introduced.

"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."

Interestingly, the Alberta government seemed unwilling to consider online sales at the time.

“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.

This new legislation will likely be passed in the legislature before the fall sitting ends next month.

h/t Calgary Herald

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