The provincial government has released their proposed legislation for legalizing marijuana after months of consultation.
The Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis includes amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act.
The proposed legislation includes:
- Setting the minimum age for purchase and use at 18. Offences could range from a $200 ticket to, at the officers discretion, notifying the parents.
- The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will oversee distribution and compliance of the retail system.
- Ban co-location of cannabis sales with alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco sales.
- Restrict where cannabis can be smoked and vaped in public.
- Establish the ability to further regulate advertising, labelling and promotion of cannabis after federal regulations are established.
“This legislation represents the culmination of extensive engagement and research on legalized cannabis," said Minister of Justice, Kathleen Ganley. "It puts our province in a position to not only meet the federal deadline of July 2018, but does so in a way that is responsible and promotes public health and safety for all Albertans.”
A new act would allow for two kinds of cannabis retail sales: government-operated online retail and privately operated physical retail locations, overseen by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Details on licensing will be available next year.
The province consulted Albertans through surveys and open houses about the legislation.
"We had well over 60,000 responses from the public and overwhelmingly, public safety was top of mind for people across the province," said Fort Saskatchewan - Vegreville MLA, Jessica Littlewood.
There are checks and balances that will be put in place to help combat the black market.
"Those that are applying for a business license, there will be a criminal background check," explained Littlewood. "It's not like someone will be able to go from being someone that has criminal charges related to drug trafficking will be able to go and open a store."
Details such as drug-impaired driving, taxation and workplace safety will come through updates before July 2018.