Ever since the Federal Government announced that recreational cannabis would be legalised by July 1, 2018 there have been a number of questions as to how the roll out, rules and regulations would take effect.
In a previous article De Paoli & Associates wrote about cannabis legislation. The Provincial Government will be solely responsible for workplace safety, distribution, wholesaling and retail modelling for legal cannabis.
The Government of Alberta released this video showing the framework for this roll out:
The video summarises the Alberta Cannabis Framework
We were not surprised to see a government controlled Wholesaler, as this mirrors the system for liquor in Alberta. We did find it interesting that recreational cannabis will not be permitted in the same facility selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. This separates the medical from the recreational sale of cannabis from the pharmacy perspective. The fact that recreational cannabis will not be sold in pharmacies seems to deny the application by Shoppers Drug Mart for a distribution licence.
One other interesting point is that initially online sales of recreational cannabis will not be permitted. Alberta’s largest grower Aurora Cannabis already have an online app for medical users. We wonder if this will have to change as a result?
Although we know more as a result of the framework, there are still a number of unanswered questions.
- Who will sell the Cannabis? The province hasn’t yet revealed whether retail sales will be by licensed and regulated private dispensaries or if they will be government owned and operated, similar to Ontario. Our hunch is that the private model will be adopted in Alberta.
- What exactly will be be considered impaired driving under the influence? What is the equality to having a .08 blood alcohol level or how does that change when both potential cannabis and alcohol are involved?
- Hours of Operation. Will they follow the same as a liquor store hours?
- Zoning and Land Use. Now that the provincial government has announced the framework and the civic elections have passed, it is time for municipal councils to make their regulations. These include retail location rules and land use zoning. Every municipality will have a different time frames and nuances for their regulations. Potential entrants to the production and retail markets are eagerly awaiting these decisions.
With eight short months to go before legalization there are many questions remaining and much work to be done. We will be watching closely as the new frontier evolves.