July 1, 2018, will be here before you know it and so will legalized marijuana.
We have a pretty good idea who will be able to buy it – anyone 18 years and older – and where the shops will be located, with the Alberta government defining in strict terms the distance from schools, community centres, liquor stores and each other.
WATCH BELOW: Alberta seeks public input on marijuana rules
The big question is: who will be selling cannabis? Will there be government owned-and-operated stores or licensed and regulated private sales?
You only have until Oct. 27 to complete the province’s online survey collecting Albertans’ views on how the new world of legalized recreational marijuana will look – and I urge you to register your opinion.
Not surprisingly, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is urging the province to sell cannabis in government-run stores.
The AUPE can argue government-run stores will ensure cannabis doesn’t end up in the hands of youth. It’s an argument that might have worked if we still had government-run liquor stores, but that all changed back in the nineties. Since then, private retailers have shown they can responsibly sell liquor.
WATCH BELOW: Albertans show support for marijuana at 4/20 rally at legislature
Alberta’s economy has been struggling over the last number of years. This is an opportunity for Alberta to diversify its economy but the government has to ensure that diversification is driven by the private sector and not unions.