Pubdate: Wed, 26 Jul 2017
Source: Ponoka News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Ponoka News
Author: Todd Colin Vaughan


The provincial government has begun to amp its plans for when the
federal cannabis legislation comes into effect next year by July 1st.

The Alberta Government is currently conducting a survey asking
Albertans how they would like to see cannabis use and distribution be
implemented in this province.

Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley said
July 1st, 2018 is an ambitious timeline, however this provincial
survey - which has already had over 35,000 respondents - will help
provincial legislation reflect the values of Albertans.

"The decision to legalize was ultimately made by the federal
government, but the provincial government will have to make a bunch of
surrounding decisions," Ganley said.

"We want to ensure the views and values of Albertans are reflected in
how we go about legalizing. We are excited that this had good uptake
so far and I think the more input we can get, the better."

The survey covers much of the federal legislation, with the purpose of
survey being to discover cannabis goals in Alberta; to establish
guidelines around the purchase of cannabis; to establish where it will
be acceptable to use cannabis in public settings; to establish a legal
age for use; to ensure that roads and workplaces are safe and to
discover the economic implications and opportunities within the
legalization of cannabis.

"It is still open until the 31st of July and I encourage everyone to
participate," Ganley said.

The timeline is something Ganley believes is workable for the
provincial government.

"It is important we have a model in place that represents the values
of Albertans and we are proceeding on the basis that that is the
timeline," she said.

"Sometimes you have ambitious deadlines and we will move ahead in
order to make sure everything is rolled out in an appropriate way."

The method of cannabis distribution and use in Alberta will be based
on what is discovered through this survey and through stakeholder
round-table meetings, sector-specific meetings and surveys at public
venues across Alberta.

"It will depend on a couple of different things," Ganley

"It will depend on some of the decisions on how restrictive it is and
who is doing the sale of it. A lot of that will depend on the feedback
we get back from our survey and then hopefully we will have more to
say about it in the fall in terms of what we heard and where we are
going generally."

While many people throughout Canada and other jurisdictions where
cannabis prohibition has been relaxed have voiced that this could
alleviate problems within the justice system, Ganley remained cautious.

"There will be some matters that come out of the justice system as a
result of this," she said.

"I don't think our numbers indicate that it will have a huge impact.
Really what will be taken out is simple possession charges, because
there are still going to be trafficking charges if you are trafficking
to minors.

"There is some question as to whether we will see more impaired
charges as well as a result."

Ganley also addressed the issue of taxation, saying ending organized
crime cannabis trafficking is more important then heavy taxation.

"Our initial projections don't really indicate that there will be a
huge revenue stream," she said.

"There is obviously some revenue associated but you have to be careful
where you set the taxation levels because ultimately a large part of
goal of this enterprise is to get rid of the illegal market so that we
don't have that gang activity surrounding it.

"In order to do that, we can't price ourselves out of the market. Our
initial projections are not showing super high revenue and there will
be some costs in terms of public education campaigns and that sort of

Albertans can take the cannabis survey at

"Ultimately, this was a decision by the federal government but it is
definitely coming and it is coming quite quickly," Ganley said.

"I think all Albertans should take an interest in the society they
live in and be willing to share their opinions and thoughts in order
so we can create a province that is reflective of the values of all
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