Legal Weed: New Canadian Dos and Don’ts (Part 1)

Part 1: Introduction and Alberta

The most important do not is simple, do not break the law. MellowMeds does not advocate for anyone to put themselves in a position to face criminal penalties. The simplest way to avoid trouble is stay within the law, both federal and provincial. We will outline each proposed and/or passed provincial legislation, province by province, and what it means for you.

Alberta: Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis (Ganley)

Alberta has bundled recreational cannabis in with the current provincial liquor and gaming laws, renaming the “Gaming and Liquor Act” to “Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act”. Sales and distribution will be controlled and regulated by the same body that oversees gambling and liquor, known as The Commission. All suppliers and retailers are required to be authorized and licensed through The Commission.

Age restriction requirements are the same as with alcohol and gaming, prohibited for anyone under the legal age. Anyone the age of 25 or under must be prepared to show photo identification at each visit and will be refused service without it.

Retail stores will be privately owned and licensed through The Commission. A store’s location must be approved by The Commission and cannot contravene Municipal by-laws with regard to location and hours of operation. A clause in the legislation makes a license non-grantable to any agent,  employee, member of The Commission, the board, as well as where the property owner or partial owner is any of the above. We consider these to be reasonable conflict of interest protections.

All licensed retailers will have the ability to access the same prices across the board for the same products. The result of this fixed pricing means that there will be no price advantage for larger retailers or chain stores. Those wanting to be successful will have to do it the old fashioned way: Friendly, knowledgeable staff and great service. Weed stores will sell only weed and weed-related accessories. As well, no employee is to be paid based on how much product is sold. Commission-based fast talkers don’t really fit the mellow nature of weed culture anyway.

Retailers are not allowed to enter agreements with any suppliers to promote their specific brand or product. My take is that there will be posters and displays for different items, but suppliers are not permitted to pay retailers directly or through product for promotion. All brands are equal.

Home growing has been left as deferred to the federal regulation proposed (it may pass amended) at 4 plants per household, with each plant being no more than 3 feet tall. The metric system apparently got lost with this legislation, having dropped on floor and rolled under the couch like a seed.

Permitted smoking locations are to be the same as with tobacco.

A change to  the laws gives police the authority to seize a vehicle if cannabis is found in it along with a concealed weapon or explosives. So, stick to the comfort of home. Bongs, not bombs! Also, don’t leave your weed lying around. Should a police officer find some weed with ‘no apparent owner’, he/she can confiscate it. You can get it back if you prove legitimate ownership,  but do you really want to be that person calling the Alberta courts asking how to go about getting your stinky buds back? Me neither! 🙂

For Albertans, this will be a welcome addition to the retail marketplace. With privately licensed retail stores, there will be a wide variety of styles and locations. A great deal of new jobs will be created and experienced ‘BudTenders’ will be in demand. Private ownership is good for smaller local economies and it will prove to be a steady source of employment, community support and involvement. Stoners are, after all, a kind, social bunch.

Good job, Alberta.

You can read the proposed bill yourself here >> http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_29/session_3/20170302_bill-026.pdf

By Echando una mano – Coat of arms of the province of Alberta in the Canadian Heraldic Authority site, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56626163

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