Canada is quickly moving toward legalization. Lawmakers are finalizing the last remaining details. As soon as that’s done, the nation should be able to move forward with legalization. But even at that point, individual provinces will still be able to regulate local weed laws. That means there will be some degree of variance between what legal weed actually looks like in different locations. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most important Alberta cannabis laws.
Alberta Cannabis Laws For Consumers
Alberta has been fine-tuning its weed laws since at least last fall. In November, the province passed two bills that laid out the bulk of its cannabis laws. Since then, policy makers have made revisions and amendments.
Alberta has chosen to set the minimum age for purchasing and consuming weed at 18. This matches the national age minimum. This is also the minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol and tobacco in Alberta.
Where Can Albertans Buy Legal Weed?
As soon as weed is legal, folks in Alberta can pick up their favorite strain at a local dispensary. All dispensaries must be licensed by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Similarly, all dispensaries will get their supply of product directly from the Commission.
Albertans can also purchase weed online. These sales will be managed exclusively by the Albertan government, and will include home delivery.
Customers will be allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis per transaction. This is the same amount that adults can possess in public at any one time.
Where Can Albertans Smoke Weed?
Adults will be allowed to consume cannabis anywhere in private. There will be some very limited allowances for public use, but cannabis consumption will be banned anywhere that tobacco is banned.
In particular, you will not be allowed to consume weed at or around a hospital, school, child care center, playground or park, zoos, theaters, and other similar locations. Additionally, adults will not be allowed to consume cannabis in vehicles.
Growing Weed at Home
In Alberta, adults can grow up to four cannabis plants at home. This is in keeping with the national limit on home cultivation.
Other Important Considerations
Alberta is especially strict on driving while under the influence of marijuana, and on being high while in the workplace.
The province is apparently still finalizing rules for driving while high. But it’s clear that this will carry some serious legal penalties.
Similarly, the province is still figuring out details on laws about being impaired in the workplace. Lawmakers said they will work with employers and other groups to ensure that rules on this are clearly established.
Alberta Cannabis Laws and Businesses
Along with establishing guidelines for consumers, Alberta’s government has also established rules for cannabis businesses.
Where Do Weed Businesses Get Their Product?
In Alberta, all retailers must get their cannabis and cannabis products from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. This is the same way alcohol is run in the province.
In some ways, this is a unique approach to distributing weed products. As per Alberta’s official cannabis framework, “government-regulated distribution will ensure a level playing field for large and craft producers.”
Further, lawmakers said that controlling distribution will ensure that all cities and towns get equal access to weed, regardless of population, size, or location.
What Kind of Stores Can Sell Legal Weed?
Of course, to sell weed in Alberta, a shop must first be licensed. As with pretty much every other aspect of the legal market, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will handle all licenses. If a store sells alcohol, tobacco, or pharmaceuticals they will not be allowed to also sell weed.
Marketing and Advertising
This topic has been making headlines recently. And Alberta is basically sticking with national policies on marketing and advertising.
For starters, marijuana companies cannot promote or package marijuana products in ways that are appealing to young people. Similarly, health and risk information must be displayed on the packaging. There are also a bunch of other restrictions on the visibility of weed advertisements.
More recently, national lawmakers added a new amendment to the legalization bill. As a result, marijuana companies are barred from branding non-marijuana goods and products as well. That means no cannabis swag in Canada.
Details For Running a Marijuana Dispensary
Business owners must apply for a retail license from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Before granting a license, the agency will run background checks on all potential retailers and workers. Before opening for business, all employees at a new shop must complete mandatory training.
The Commission is also in charge of approving the locations of new weed shops. The main variable here is how close a dispensary is to a school. In particular, marijuana stores have to be at least 100 meters away from the nearest school.
Finally, dispensaries in Alberta can be open between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 a.m. And not surprisingly, they will be required to meet strict security standards.
Final Hit: Most Important Alberta Cannabis Laws
Provincial marijuana laws are shaping up to be almost as important as national laws. Obviously, nothing will happen until cannabis is legalized at the federal level. But from that point on, a lot of the on-the-ground operations of the legal market will be dictated by provinces.
Provincial rules and practices could also affect the timeline of legalization. For example, experts predict that provinces will probably need another couple months after national legalization to get their own programs up and running.
But from the looks of things, Alberta’s well on its way to finalizing marijuana rules.