Pubdate: Sat, 17 Feb 2018
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Dean Bennett
Page: A1


Alberta outlines specifics on cannabis sales

Alberta expects to issue 250 licences for cannabis stores this year,
and says anyone who wants to run a weed shop will first undergo an
exhaustive check ranging from tax records to mob ties. "We believe
that our regulations will strike the right balance," Justice Minister
Kathleen Ganley said Friday in Calgary as she unveiled the new
regulations for marijuana distribution.

"The system that we are putting in place in Alberta will create an
environment in which retailers can legally sell cannabis and provide
access to safe products while keeping the health and safety of
Albertans in mind."

The regulations underpin legislation passed last November by Alberta
that puts the minimum age to buy and use recreational cannabis at 18,
with private retailers selling marijuana over the counter while the
province runs the online sales.

The federal government has said it wants cannabis legalized by July 1,
but the bill is still in debate and the implementation date may be
pushed back into the late summer or fall.

Ganley said the province will begin taking applications starting March
6 for those who want to operate a cannabis store. Cannabis
distribution is run by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Operators will have to plunk down a $400 nonrefundable application fee
and a $3,000 deposit for the records and background check. If they are
approved for a licence, that is another $700 for the first year.

Investigators will do a criminal background check on an applicant
along with a check of tax records for the last three years. There will
be checks on company directors and on who is backstopping any related
loans, along with interviews to confirm key points. The process could
take two to four months.

"It's important that we make sure the illegal market doesn't seep into
the legal one," said Ganley. "Convictions such as trafficking or
producing illegal drugs, or associations to organized crime or
violence will make an applicant ineligible for a retail licence."

A candidate will be eligible to run a cannabis store if he or she has
a past minor criminal conviction for marijuana possession.

Stores will be allowed to be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and will have
to be 100 metres away from schools and health-care facilities.

Municipalities will have the option to amend those

Employees also will have to get background checks and take an online
workshop on topics such as health risks from marijuana and how to
handle difficult customers.

One business entity will not be allowed to own more than 15 per cent
of the stores, but Ganley said the government may revisit that figure
as it gets a better handle on what the marketplace will look like.

The stores will only be allowed to sell cannabis and related

The cannabis must be in a locked display case accessible only by
staff. There must be security measures in place, including alarms and
video surveillance.

Minors are not allowed in the stores, even if accompanied by an

The stores can't sell more than 30 grams of dried cannabis (about 40
joints) to any customer at any one time. Thirty grams is the maximum
amount the feds will allow any person to have on their person while in

The commission is currently taking bids from suppliers and will set
the wholesale price for marijuana.

Ganley said the province is still crunching the numbers on how much
the new sales regime will cost.

Rules and regulations for online sales will be unveiled in the months
to come.
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