Alberta Chamber Business Alert - Cannabis Legislation


Edmonton, February 16, 2018 - The Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) welcomes the announcement today by Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley and the Alberta Government on regulations for private retailers. Regulations outline who can own cannabis stores, where they can be located, rules for staff, safety and security requirements, and other operational details for private retailers. While the regulations will be established province-wide, municipalities will have the ability to adjust certain aspects to best suit their communities.

With the proposed legislation of Bill 26, An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis, two kinds of cannabis retail sales in Alberta will be allowed: privately operated physical retail locations and government-operated online retail. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) will be responsible for oversight of private retail. While applications are now available for viewing on the AGLC website, they will not be accepted until March 6. All applicants will have to undergo a thorough, mandatory background check, as will any employees of cannabis stores.

“The release of these regulations and the application for our future retail businesses are critical to the success of the new industry,” said Ken Kobly, ACC President and CEO. "Businesses needed clarity on where these stores can be established and these regulations are an important step to providing that clarity."

The federal government had hoped to make cannabis legal July 1, but the Senate is not expected to vote on the proposed legislation until June 7. Despite the possibility of a delay to the legalization date, a summer deadline is still expected. Given the complexity of legalizing cannabis before the summer, there are significant issues for business yet to be resolved.

"One issue is that, likely, the vast majority of municipalities have no land-use category for permitted or discretionary uses for cannabis retail," say's Ken Kobly. "Land-use changes require statutory public hearings, which put significant pressure on municipalities to engage their community members and make the appropriate adjustments to by-laws in time. Those municipalities can now move forward with that process."

Ensuring the safety of Alberta workplaces is also top of mind for business and employers in Alberta. The ACC continues to work with Labour Minister Christina Grey to ensure Alberta's workplaces remain safe when implementation of cannabis legalization takes effect.

Posted on:
Friday, February 16, 2018