January 17, 2019 2:35 am
Updated: January 17, 2019 11:57 am

Alberta Liberals call on government to issue more cannabis licences

WATCH ABOVE: (From Jan. 3, 2019) Cannabis producers are trying to catch up to overwhelming demand. While supply issues are improving, Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis' hold on issuing new retail licences remains. Tom Vernon reports.

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Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan called on the province’s NDP government to begin issuing cannabis licences as a moratorium on new permits continues.

Earlier this month, the regulator in charge of Alberta’s cannabis market said although supply was improving, it was not improving enough to warrant issuing new cannabis licences.

READ MORE: Cannabis supply slowly improving but not enough to allow more licences: AGLC

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“The NDP’s flawed cannabis policy is failing Albertans,” Khan said in a news release on Wednesday. “They are stifling job creation and undermining efforts to end the criminal black market by refusing to issue more licences.

“Alberta Liberals want the free market to resolve this problem.”

Cannabis was legalized across Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. On Nov. 21, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) suspended new applications and said it wouldn’t issue any additional cannabis retail licences until further notice.

The results of an Ipsos poll — conducted on behalf of Global News — that were released in November, revealed that of Canadians who have purchased cannabis in the first weeks after legalization, 35 per cent went back to their pre-legalization sources.

READ MORE: One-third of cannabis buyers still using illicit dealers, according to IPSOS poll

Watch below: (From November 2018) One month into pot legalization, an IPSOS poll looks at what has changed for Canadians including consumption levels and the legal marijuana shopping experience.

“The NDP government wants the AGLC to be the sole distributor of cannabis to retailers for quality control purposes,” Khan said. “That monopoly is clearly not working. It has contributed to an artificial supply shortage that is fuelling the black market where there is no quality control at all.”

The Alberta Liberals said they want to see the problem addressed by easing restrictions on stores seeking supply.

“We suggest allowing them to purchase from licensed producers or distributors other than the AGLC,” the party said. “This includes boutique producers or distributors currently frozen out of the market.”

–With files from Global News’ Emily Mertz and Jane Gerster

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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