Pubdate: Fri, 10 Nov 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Emma Graney
Page: A1


But NDP legislation would leave online sales to the government

Plans are underway for legal marijuana to be sold in Alberta through
private bricks-and-mortar stores, but online sales will be controlled
by the government, Postmedia has learned.

Legislation governing the sale of weed once it becomes legal July 1
will be introduced in the legislature next week. Governmentcontrolled
online sales is meant to alleviate safety concerns raised by Albertans
in response to the NDP's planned pot framework, released Oct. 4,
sources say.

The proposed hybrid system means private stores will bear the brunt of
the financial risk, rather than taxpayers.

The province had been mulling over whether or not to set up publicly
owned marijuana stores - a particularly thorny question for the
union-friendly NDP government. Ultimately, it rejected the idea. Last
month, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees adopted a resolution
supporting the public control of marijuana sales. At the time, union
president Guy Smith cited the health, safety and well-being of Albertans.

B.C.'s government union adopted a similar resolution, while Ontario
plans to sell marijuana through 150 stores run by the province's
liquor distributor.


Governments across Canada have been grappling with the question of
marijuanalegislation since the federal government set July 1, 2018, as
the date for legalization.

Ottawa left many of the details to the provinces, including retail
sales. Alberta's proposed legislation will likely be passed in the
legislature before the fall sitting ends in December, but there will
still be work to do.

Provinces are waiting on word from Ottawa about how legal marijuana
will be taxed and, more importantly, who gets the cash.

There's also the question of policing.

At a joint health ministers' meeting in Edmonton last month, federal
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said pilot projects are
already underway to train police to administer roadside marijuana
impairment tests.

She also said Ottawa has made some initial investments toward
education and prevention programs, citing evidence from the United
States showing the need to roll out prevention programs prior to

Rules around edibles are still up in the air, Petitpas Taylor said at
the time, with regulations unlikely to be ready until summer 2019.

When Alberta's proposed framework was released in Calgary, Justice
Minister Kathleen Ganley said the government was open to all retail

Under that framework, Alberta won't change the federal government's
public possession limit of 30 grams - the equivalent of about 40
joints - for adults. It will also maintain the federal limit of four
plants per household. That framework set 18 as the legal age for
marijuana consumption to match alcohol and tobacco in Alberta,
although it's unclear whether the government will continue down that

Either way, the province proposed a zero-tolerance policy for youth
possession, with tickets for those in possession of under five grams
of cannabis and potential criminal charges for possession over that

Framework consultations closed Oct. 27.
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