Pubdate: Thu, 05 Oct 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Graham Thomson
Page: A1


But as legalization nears, province still unsure how to sell the

If you're old enough to get drunk, you're old enough to get

That might not be a government slogan, but it pretty much sums up the
nub of Alberta's proposed marijuana laws.

Those laws have yet to be drawn up, but on Wednesday morning, Justice
Minister Kathleen Ganley unveiled the direction the government is headed.

When possession of cannabis becomes legal across Canada next July, here 
are some of the proposed rules for Alberta:

* You have to be at least 18 to buy and consume cannabis.

* You won't be allowed to possess more than 30 grams (that's about an
ounce for those of you trying to do the conversion from that "one
time" you lit up in the 1970s).

* You'll be able to grow your own cannabis plants at home. But only
four of them and they can't be taller than one metre. No big pots for
your little pot.

The government doesn't yet know where it will allow cannabis to be
sold. Ontario, for example, will sell marijuana the way it sells
booze, through government-run liquor stores.

The Alberta government hasn't made up its mind whether to allow
marijuana to be sold in private stores or in government-owned outlets.

Either way, you won't be able to pick up a spliff of Colombian Gold
where you get a bottle of Canadian Club. Existing liquor stores will
not be allowed to sell cannabis. The government doesn't want to make
it easy for you to mix your Bud with your bud.

It also doesn't want to make it easy for kids to get their hands on
grass, unless it's the lawn-mowing variety.

So, the government is looking to the public for ideas and

The details of the proposed framework released Wednesday in Calgary
are up for discussion. The government has a webpage where you can give
your opinion.

But by federal government decree, the legal age can't be below 18 and
you can't possess more than 30 grams.

Ganley is optimistic the province will have its laws in place by the
July 1 deadline, but this is a time-sensitive headache for all
provinces thanks to Ottawa.

It set the timeline and now it's up to the provinces to come up with
rules and regulations dealing with everything from where to buy
cannabis to how police will enforce new impairment laws.

And there's a cost to all of this. The government is hoping Ottawa
will help pay the bills for enforcement. That's because Ganley doesn't
expect the province will make much money from taxing cannabis. We shall see.

Interestingly, just as the government was rolling out its cannabis
guidelines, an NDP backbencher had everyone wondering what she had
been smoking.

Karen McPherson, MLA for Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill, abruptly announced
she was quitting the government caucus to sit as an independent MLA.
This was a shock to everyone, including the government.

"Our world is becoming increasingly polarized with pressures of left &
right politics," she said on Twitter. "I don't reflect either of those

She wasn't much more articulate or forthcoming in an interview. You're
left with the impression that McPherson's departure is an indication
of just how unpopular the NDP has become in Calgary. She insists she
wasn't unhappy in the NDP caucus, but politicians don't quit a
government caucus if they're happy.

McPherson says she'll spend the next three weeks in advance of the
fall legislative sitting talking with her constituents about what she
should do next.

And Wednesday afternoon, we had another political announcement, but
this one the opposite of shock.

Jeff Callaway quit the race for leadership of the United Conservative
Party and endorsed Jason Kenney.

Callaway says money wasn't an issue, but it's worth pointing out if he
didn't drop out now, he'd have to pay another $37,500 on Thursday as
the final instalment of his entry fee to stay in the race.

Callaway was never particularly believable as a candidate. He appeared
to act as a surrogate for Kenney, attacking Brian Jean and leaving
Kenney's hands unsullied. (As if to prove this point, Callaway issued
a news release Wednesday calling out "many of Brian's most loyal
supporters" as bullies).

If Callaway thinks he has fooled anyone, he must think we're all high
on something.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt