With national legalization on the horizon, many folks living in the Canadian province of Alberta were hoping to have access to cannabis lounges. But it looks those hopes will have to be put on pause. For now, the province will not allow any designated spaces for smoking or vaping. And since edibles won’t be legal until next year, Albertans won’t have a chance to establish legal weed lounges until things get sorted out with edible forms of cannabis.
No Weed Lounges in Alberta
According to local news sources, provincial officials recently announced that Alberta will not immediately establish marijuana consumption sites. Instead, they will wait to see what happens with edibles.
At the moment, Canada Health plans to make recreational marijuana legal on October 17. But the nation’s soon to begin recreational retail program will not include edible forms of cannabis.
Instead, federal officials plan to continue examining edibles. Ultimately, the hope is to launch edibles sales sometime in 2019.
In the meantime, the government will continue outlawing any sort of public marijuana consumption. And in general, that includes cannabis cafes and lounges.
Initially, many provinces like Alberta were hoping to establish spaces where people would be allowed to consume weed. But when they were unable to approve places for people to smoke or vape, the only remaining option was establishing spaces where people could consume edibles.
But, edibles won’t be for sale until next year. And that essentially delays the last real option for establishing weed lounges.
As a result of all this, cannabis lounges won’t become a realistic option until edibles become legal. And since Canada isn’t planning on legalizing the sale of edibles until 2019, weed lounges have been put on hold for the time being.
A Potential Problem for Legalization
Some lawmakers in Alberta have become frustrated by this turn of events. In particular, some are pointing out a potential contradiction in making weed legal but then failing to provide any spaces where people can safely and legally consume weed.
The question of consumption spaces is especially pressing for people who live in apartments or other residences where smoking is not allowed.
People in this situation will need somewhere else to consume legal weed. And without approved consumption sites, they may not be able to easily take part in the country’s legal recreational program.
For example, the city of Calgary recently tried to get approval for four proposed consumption sites. After a review process, each of the proposals were denied.
This left one option: spaces where people could eat edibles. But this option was immediately rendered impossible by Canada Health’s timeline for launching a retail program for edibles.
“If someone had actually bothered to take the time to talk to the people who roll out services in the places people live and will be consuming a legal product, we could have told them they need a place for people to go,” said politician Jyoti Gondek. “But nobody asked us.”
For now, it looks like Albertans will not have access to marijuana consumption sites. Things could change next year. But even then, next year’s actions may only allow for consumption sites for edibles.