Alberta residents will be able to purchase cannabis at privately operated stores as well as online through a government website once nationwide recreational cannabis legalization rolls out next July, according to legislation introduced on Thursday.
The provincial government’s Bill 26 states that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will manage the distribution of cannabis – in cigarette, oil, and loose forms – to private retailers.
The AGLC will also be in charge of licensing said retailers, who will only be permitted to sell cannabis to adults 18 and over.
This hybrid retail model reflects what Albertans asked for in government-run surveys on cannabis legalization, say government officials.
Online sales by the government will both ensure that rural Alberta residents have access to cannabis, and keep it out of the hands of minors, claimed Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.
"There were still these outstanding concerns both on our part and on the part of the public surrounding age verification," she said.
While regulations concerning how private stores will operate have yet to be determined, the government will not allow cannabis to be sold alongside tobacco, liquor, or pharmaceuticals.
Following the lead of several other provinces that have introduced similar legislation on public consumption, the Alberta government is proposing that smoking and vaping be prohibited in the same locations where smoking tobacco is banned. Consumption will be prohibited on school properties, daycares, hospital grounds, and places where children are likely to be.
The Alberta government has also introduced legislation to add cannabis impairment to the Traffic Safety Act, as well as set up provincial offenses for youth possession and consumption inside a vehicle, along with other banned locations.
More than 60,000 Albertans responded to an online survey on the government’s draft cannabis framework, which was released in June.
h/t CBC News