October 16, 2018 8:00 am
Updated: October 17, 2018 8:26 pm

Legalization is nigh: Things to know in Alberta before getting high

WATCH: As we get closer to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, licensed stores in Calgary are preparing for large crowds when they open. Lauren Pullen reports.

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With cannabis legalization coming down the pipe on Oct. 17, there are a few things to keep in mind before you reach for the bong in Alberta.

Age, quantity and location restrictions

If you’re over 18 in Alberta when legalization day comes, you’ll be able to spend your green on the green legally; it’s the same age requirement for alcohol and tobacco use.

“Setting a minimum age of 18 will help balance the health risks to youth with the need to eliminate their interaction with a sophisticated and potentially dangerous illicit market,” the province’s website read.

People can only buy the product from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis-licensed stores or from the government’s site. Licensed stores won’t be able to sell cannabis if they sell alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Under federal legislation, you can buy dried flower, milled flower, plant seeds, oil, capsules and pre-rolls.

READ MORE: Four myths and misconceptions about pot and your health

Watch below: On Oct. 17, 2018, Gord Steinke went through some facts, figures and rules for Albertans to keep in mind.

Thirty grams is the cannabis max you can buy or carry at a time.

The province said: “Government-regulated distribution will ensure a level playing field for large and craft producers, and prevents small communities from being penalized for delivery costs by making sure product is shipped at the same price no matter where it’s going.”

Cannabis retailers can be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. — the same as liquor stores — with “extensive security requirements.”

Thirty grams is the cannabis max you can buy or carry at a time.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

It’s up to you to know your local laws for public consumption — the rules vary from city to city. In broad strokes across the province, however, Albertans will be allowed to consume cannabis in their homes and in some public spaces where smoking tobacco is allowed, but use will be banned in cars.

READ MORE: Cannabis use, consumption banned by major Alberta rental company Boardwalk

Edibles are not legal — and won’t be for another year or so.

If you have a green thumb, four plants are allowed per household from seeds purchased from licensed cannabis retailers.

WATCH BELOW: Learn about Alberta’s cannabis rules and regulations before legalization on Oct. 17.

Don’t toke and drive

Driving high is illegal — it can impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle or equipment. In the past year, the Alberta government updated impaired driving laws to include weed effects with its zero tolerance and licence suspension programs.

There is zero tolerance for those who hold a graduated driver’s licence — just like alcohol regulations. GDL drivers caught with above zero but below criminal limits of marijuana in their systems will have an immediate 30-day licence suspension and an immediate seven-day vehicle seizure. They also must remain in the GDL program for two years without suspension to be able to graduate.

Watch Below: There is still confusion about cannabis use and driving. Police are trying to clear the air about the issue. Kendra Slugoski reports.

READ MORE: Edmonton police still undecided on marijuana roadside testing equipment

All drivers suspected of being criminally impaired will have their licence suspended for 90 days, an immediate three-day vehicle seizure and to participate in a one-year ignition interlock program. The province said these sanctions are in addition to criminal charges and penalties imposed by the court. Criminal weed limits are set by the federal government and can be seen in the chart below.

READ MORE: Expert at Alberta symposium concerned about cannabis’ effects on memory, language, mood

Cannabis use doubles the risk of being involved in a collision, according to the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction.

Pot can’t be within reach of anyone in a vehicle, with the Alberta government saying it must be secured in closed packaging.

Blood-drug concentration limits

Blood-drug concentration limits.

Government of Alberta

Kids, pets and kush

Kids are prohibited from cannabis stores, even with an adult present.

The Cannabis Act carries penalties for selling or providing the drug to minors.

The federal government recommends storing marijuana away from youth and pets. Here’s what veterinarians say you should do if your pets eat cannabis.

The Cannabis Act carries penalties for selling or providing the drug to minors.

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Pot in the Prairies

In Alberta, 8.9 per cent of people reported using weed within a 12-month period, compared to the 10.5 per cent national average, according to a 2017 University of Calgary study. However, the province had the second-highest lifetime use across the country at 37.3 per cent behind Nova Scotia at 42.4 per cent.

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