Pubdate: Fri, 17 Nov 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Emma Graney
Page: A1


Private retailers who want to sell legal marijuana in Alberta next
July 1 won't be able to do so alongside alcohol, or even a bag of chips.

Under proposed rules introduced by the province Thursday, retailers
will be restricted to sales of cannabis and cannabis-related goods
such as lighters and rolling papers. There's no word on how much legal
marijuana will cost, but 420 Clinic founder Jeff Mooij says that won't
matter to consumers.

As a medical marijuana clinic owner and cannabis user, Mooij said
Thursday there is an appetite for clean, safe, regulated weed in
Alberta - it's not about paying less than black market drugs, but
knowing where the product is coming from.

"Demand will be huge," he said. Mooij intends to apply for a retail
licence and envisages long lines and shelves emptying at lightning
speed on July 1, as has been the experience in the U.S.

"What we need to worry about is that we have enough product in this
province to facilitate (legalization)," he said, calling on the
federal government to increase production licences.

"If we want to go against the black market, then we need a robust
market." If the legislation is passed, retail stores will operate
under a specific cannabis business licence. That means liquor stores
won't be able to set up a wall and a separate storefront with booze on
one side and bud on the other - they need to be an entirely different
business entity.

In a statement, Alberta Liquor Store Association president Ivonne
Martinez said private liquor retailers are best suited to safely and
responsibly sell legalized cannabis.

If government wants a specific distance between alcohol and cannabis,
she said, ALSA members should still be able to open up offsite weed

Along with booze, selling tobacco or pharmaceuticals alongside weed
also will be strictly prohibited.

Online sales will be controlled and run by the province, although the
details of how that will work are yet to be hashed out.

The government is still working on which department or organization
will execute sales, what technology will be used to check buyers' age
and identity online (and at delivery) and how the product will even
get to remote communities.

With municipalities and the federal government still setting up their
own laws, Alberta officials see July 1 as the starting point, not the
finishing line.

Officials say many of the intricacies will be managed through
regulations coming in February or March.

Those rules will govern where a store can be located, how much
distance must exist between cannabis shops, schools and liquor stores,
and how licensing through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
will work. There's no set limit on the number of stores allowed in the
province, but the gaming and liquor commission will manage the pace of
licensing to avoid a clamouring rush for stores.
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