The Alberta government released a draft of who can buy and use cannabis once it's legal.
The province's framework supports four policy priorities for legislation: keeping it out of the hands of kids, promoting safety on roads, workplaces and public space, protecting health and limiting the black market.
"One of the most alarming numbers I've heard was that half of Grade 12 students, when surveyed, said that they have used cannabis already by Grade 12," said Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA, Jessica Littlewood. "We need to make sure we are addressing the black market that is already at work."
They're proposing a minimum age of 18 to buy and use cannabis with a possession limit of 30 grams. Other ideas include:
- Provincial oversight and regulation of wholesaling and distribution of cannabis products through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
- The ability to grow up to four cannabis plants, no taller than one metre, at home for personal use.
- Restrictions on retail locations selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals together with cannabis.
- Strict rules around zoning retail locations and training for employees.
- Province wide restrictions on where cannabis can be used in public, with an emphasis on protecting children and limiting second-hand exposure.
- Ability for municipalities to introduce additional restrictions on public consumption.
- New tools to expand the ability of police to address drug-impaired driving.
- Development of an extensive public education program.
One of the biggest questions facing the government is how to protect public health.
"We know that, just like any drug, there are consequences, so we need to make sure that we are equipping our health teams and our municipalities to deal with [the public health concerns]."
Littlewood added another important question is the legal age - should it be 18 or 21?
The government is still looking for input on the heels of one of the most successful public survey in provincial history with over 45,000 responses. Albertans have until October 27 at midnight to complete the survey.
The legislation would be introduced by the winter of 2018.