Alberta government details pot plan, proposes 18 as minimum age
Alberta is proposing that 18 be the minimum age to use cannabis when new laws legalizing recreational marijuana use kick in next summer.
But the province hasn’t yet decided on whether to sell cannabis through government-run stores or through private operators.
Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced the proposed Alberta Cannabis Framework Wednesday in Calgary, and emphasised this was just a draft.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced Wednesday that in accordance with federal regulations, the maximum amount of pot Alberta citizens could possess in public would be 30 grams.
Ganley said the government has broken this issue down to four priorities:
- Keeping cannabis out of the hands of children;
- Promoting public health;
- Keeping roads, workspaces and public areas safe;
- Eliminating the sale of cannabis on the black market.
Albertans have just over three weeks to give feedback and legislation will be introduced in the months ahead.
Watch below: Albertans could soon be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis, which amounts to about 40 joints. But who – and where – it will be sold is still being decided. Kendra Slugoski has more.
The government plans to directly manage the wholesale distribution of cannabis through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).
The province says the plan is not to sell cannabis in the same stores that handle liquor, tobacco or pharmaceutical drugs.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced Wednesday the public spaces where cannabis use will be prohibited. Ganley also said that cannabis cafes and lounges won’t be green-lit “right away.”
The minimum age of 18 was set to align with Alberta’s age restriction on alcohol and tobacco use.
Ontario has already rolled out its plans, including a minimum age of 19 and selling cannabis through government outlets.
The Alberta government is proposing a legal possession amount of 30 grams for adults in public.
The federal government plans to make marijuana legal across Canada by July 2018.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said Wednesday that the province hopes to create a “competitive” legal market for cannabis to help destroy the current black market for pot.
Earlier this year, the federal Liberal government unveiled its proposed legal-pot regime, which – once passed – would establish a “strict legal framework” for the production, sale, distribution and possession of pot.
An online survey, which was part of the province’s two-phase engagement process, gathered input from more than 45,000 Albertans. The survey was one of the most successful in the province’s history, according to a spokesperson with Alberta Justice.
The NDP government also met with more than 100 stakeholders and sectors, which included Indigenous groups, private industry, municipalities, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, health care providers, law enforcement, and members of the transportation and labour sectors.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says the province is “looking forward” to the framework the federal government will unveil for detecting marijuana impairment while driving.
According to Ganley, feedback from phase one showed general consensus on the desire to protect children, and concern about a potential increase in drug-impaired driving.
Ganley said there were polarizing views on where to consume pot.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said Wednesday that the aim of the 30-gram public possession limit was to target black market traffickers, not those who simply enjoy a lot of marijuana.
BULLET POINTS ON POT:
- Who can purchase and possess cannabis?
- Legal age to purchase will be 18 in Alberta, the same as alcohol and tobacco
- Province plans to encourage younger people – the biggest consumers of pot – to purchase cannabis legally
- Province not encouraging cannabis use at the age of 18, but the government recognizes that is the legal age to make adult decisions
- Adults may legally possess 30 grams of cannabis in public
- No amount is allowed for those under the age of 18
- Where can cannabis be consumed?
- Adults over the age of 18 can legally consume pot in their homes
- Smoking and vaping will not be allowed in public places where kids are – following the same rules as tobacco
- Government will attempt to limit second-hand smoke
- Government will not allow specialized cafes immediately
- How can people get pot?
- AGLC will control the wholesaling and distribution
- Adults can purchase up to a max of 30 grams
- Store hours, age of staff, locations will all governed by AGLC
- There will be restrictions on retail locations selling booze, tobacco, pharmaceuticals together with pot
- You can grow pot at home with some restrictions – plants are allowed to be up to one metre in size
- Up to four plants per household
- Cannot grow pot outside so as to restrict access by children
Watch below: Alberta is proposing that 18 be the minimum age to use cannabis when marijuana legalization kicks in next summer. Kendra Slugoski has the details.
POT AND DRIVING
Ganley said the Alberta government will have legislation in place ahead of July 1, 2018. She told reporters the government will follow the federal lead on this with regards to specific testing and impairment values.
PUBLIC vs. PRIVATE
The Alberta government has not made a final decision on whether private retailers will be able to operate cannabis stores.
The province has said the wholesale and distribution will be heavily regulated by the AGLC and that cafes will not be opening immediately.
“The only thing being legalized right now is smoked product,” Ganley said, adding opening smoking cafés would be a step backward in workplace safety and against attempts to limit second-hand smoke.
Watch below: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley outlined on Wednesday the provincial framework under which residents of the province will be able to purchase legal cannabis in the coming year.
There is still some uncertainty on how Alberta plans to rollout online websites, mainly because of governance concerns.
“It is to verify the age of who is ordering the product and who is receiving the product.” Ganley said.
The justice minister said the government is expecting to incur significant costs with implementation of the new legislation, and it is not expecting this to be a money maker.
“At this point we are not expecting revenue generation initially,” Ganley said.
WATCH: Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley speaks to Danielle Smith about Alberta’s plan for legalized marijuana
The City of Calgary issued a press release Wednesday afternoon saying there are plans to clarify the municipal role in legalization.
The city announced plans for an online survey later in the fall to help identify and address the concerns of Calgarians.
“The city has an important role to play in implementing the legalized sale and use of recreational cannabis in Calgary while upholding federal and provincial legislation,” said Matt Zabloski, project lead for preparing the city’s regulations for the legalization of recreational cannabis.
In reaction to the government’s announcement, the Canadian Cancer Society encouraged the NDP to focus on tobacco legislation before targeting cannabis.
“Tobacco kills 37 times more Canadians than cannabis and tobacco legislation should not take a back seat to cannabis regulation,” said Kristyn Berry of the Canadian Cancer society.
“The regulation of a less harmful legal drug should not take precedent over the control of a more harmful legal substance.”
The Action on Smoking and Health group also urged the premier and cabinet to “finish the job” on tobacco before legislating cannabis.
“One cabinet meeting is all that is required to mandate the full implementation of life-saving legislation that will protect thousands of Alberta youth from the deadly consequences of tobacco addiction,” said Les Hagen.
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