The Alberta government met with stakeholders interested in cannabis legalization and the retail space within the province yesterday. The purpose of the meeting was to provide more details on the province’s approach to retail cannabis sales, which Alberta has said they plan on leaving to the private sector.
Industry and stakeholder groups like 420 Clinic, 51st Parallel, the Alberta Cannabis Coalition, the Alberta Cannabis Collective, the Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders Group, Alberta Chamber of Commerce, Alberta Liquor Store Association, Canadian Cannabis Chamber, Couche-Tard, Green Acre Capital, GrenEx, Liquor Stores NA, Loblaws, MediGrow, Overgrown Gardens, the Retail Council of Canada’s Alberta chapter, as well as licensed producers like Sundial Growers, Tilray, and Aurora.
Several of these stakeholders also took part in a campaign late last year under the monocer “Legalize Private Retail” aimed at the Alberta government promoting the benefits of private retail cannabis.
In yesterday’s meeting, the province provided the attending stakeholders an understanding of the process and expected timeline for implementing retail stores in Alberta, physical requirements for retailers, how the province will manage market concentration to ensure stores are not clustered together, what background checks may entail, security expectations, security and inventory controls, product selection and more.
Alberta announced their plans for managing legal cannabis in November, with an age limit of 18, private retail stores and a government-run online retail option that will be in place as soon as cannabis is legal. While no timeline for implementation of the plan has been made public, the province has said they intend to be fully prepared for legalization by this summer.
Under the proposed legislation, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will provide oversight of the distribution of cannabis and cannabis products, and the AGLC will licence private retailers.
The province says they are not yet sure how the AGLC will manage distribution and product tracking and are looking at all options, including managing it digitally. Cannabis producers will sell directly to the AGLC who will then sell at a markup to private retailers, as well as selling through the online system.
The province had originally said they were unsure they could properly manage age verification of online sales but now feel they can safely address this issue. Online sales will provide immediate access for all Albertans while private retail stores get established. Specifics of what the online sales system will be are not yet public.
Featured image by Wilson Hui.