November 17, 2017 9:00 am

Private marijuana industry to be boon for Alberta: Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders Group

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley laid out details of the NDP's proposed legislation to deal with the legalization of marijuana. Tom Vernon filed this report on Thursday.

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Marijuana is expected to be big business, especially if you look at the private regulation models in Colorado and Washington.

A lobby group thinks that means Alberta will see a huge benefit and an entirely new industry spring up from nothing.

READ MORE: Alberta’s proposed cannabis legislation includes mix of private and public sales


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Jason Kujath, spokesperson for the Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders Group, said there is a lot of money to be made by companies, the province, the feds and Albertans after legalization when compared to the private alcohol model.

“So when you think of the tremendous opportunity that is right in front of us as entrepreneurs, individuals and taxpayers in Alberta, the private model provides that,” he said. “Expanding from just the retail aspect of it whether it is distribution, real estate finance and many other areas.”

Kujath points to the history of Liquor Depot, which grew out of two small four-store Edmonton businesses merging to become an international business. He thinks that will happen with marijuana businesses in Alberta.

READ MORE: Alberta police chiefs concerned pace of pot legalization will lead to more youth use and impaired driving

He says that growth will lead to all kinds of new positions in the marijuana field – and not just retail and growing.

“The administrative needs are going to be so great and it’s going to include the real estate procurement portion of it,” Kujath said. “If a larger group [that wants to open a dispensary] wants to find real estate in Alberta they are going to need people located in Alberta.

“They’re also going to need finance, payroll, HR and so many other positions for this new industry and all the jobs that will come with it.”

With it being a new industry and a private model in Alberta, Kujath thinks that could result in marijuana-related companies basing their head offices in Alberta cities.

“There is going to be such a need for such a presence and number of jobs created and it only makes sense that if an established LP wanted to operate retail in Alberta, they would move a head officer here and that will require a tremendous investment.”

READ MORE: Alberta cannabis producer calls proposed taxation of medical marijuana a ‘major mistake’

Alcohol sales in Alberta in 2014 were $2.4-billion, according to Statistics Canada, and Kujath expects marijuana to be a comparable industry, which means there could be billions of dollars coming into Alberta from the new industry.

Marijuana will be legalized in Canada July 1, 2018.

Watch below: Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, the CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and Jeff Mooji with 420 Clinic speak about Alberta’s proposed cannabis legislation on Thursday.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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