Alberta announces regulations that will govern private cannabis retailers
In line with the Calgary Chamber’s recommendation, the Alberta Government announced last fall that the province would be implementing a private retail store model for the sale of cannabis.
While all levels of government still have work to do in setting up the legal framework, the Alberta Government recently announced regulations that will govern private retailers within the province.
In addition to the recently announced Alberta regulations, the Calgary business community acknowledges the City of Calgary for drafting bylaw amendments in an expedient manner, and applauds the City for giving potential retailers as much time as possible to prepare for legalization.
The Details You Should Know About
The recently announced Alberta regulations outline who can own cannabis stores, rules for staff, where retail stores can be located, and other operation details for private retailers.
Who can own a retail store?
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), who will be overseeing Alberta’s cannabis industry, estimates that it will issue 250 licences in the first year. This is only an estimate, there is currently no provincial limit on the number of licenses that the AGLC will approve. There will be a limit, however, on the number of licences each business can obtain; one person, group, or organization cannot hold more than 15% of licenses in Alberta.
The AGLC will be reviewing applicants’ criminal records, business histories, and financial information. Anyone with links to organized crime or with a history of drug trafficking will not be issued a licence. However, minor cannabis infractions such as possession will not automatically disqualify someone from being a licenced retailer.
Applications to be a licensed retailer will be accepted by the AGLC beginning on March 6, 2018.
Who can work in a retail store?
There will be mandatory training and background checks for all retail employees. To work in Alberta’s retail cannabis industry, staff must be recognized as a “Qualified Cannabis Worker”. To be qualified, candidates must:
Complete AGLC’s online SellSafe Cannabis Training program, available May 1, 2018. Licensed retail cannabis store staff will be required to have SellSafe certification before applying to the AGLC to be a Qualified Cannabis Worker.
Provide a criminal record check
Complete the Application for Qualified Worker form, also available May 1
Where can retail stores be located?
The Alberta Government has mandated a 100-metre buffer between cannabis retailers and school and provincial health-care facilities.
The City of Calgary’s Administration has proposed a 150-metre buffer zone between cannabis retailers and schools along with other separation distances. All retail locations will have to comply with the bylaw requirements developed by the City of Calgary.
What rules will be in place governing how stores can operate?
Retail hours will be set between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., the same as liquor stores. Municipal governments will be able to adjust operation hours, but they must remain between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m.
In addition, each retail store must have the following tracking and security measures in place:
A shipping/receiving area that is separate from other businesses
A secure storage room and display for cannabis and accessories
An alarm and video surveillance system
No access from any area of the premises to another business
Minors will be prohibited from entering a retail store, as will consumption within the store. Individual sales of cannabis will not be able to exceed 30 grams.
Similar to Alberta’s liquor industry, the AGLC will oversee the distribution, compliance, and enforcement of the cannabis retail system within the province. The AGLC will also be responsible for operating online cannabis sales within Alberta.
Want to Learn More?
Join us on March 2 as we host industry leaders and the Alberta Government to discuss emerging business opportunities in the cannabis industry, along with legal framework that will oversee the industry.
For more information on the Alberta Government’s recently announced regulations, you can listen to the Alberta Government’s announcement or visit the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commissions’ website.
Rules and guidelines that will govern workplace safety and cannabis impairment issues, which is a large concern for many Calgary businesses, has yet to be fully developed. We will continue to work with the Alberta Government as they develop the rules to ensure Alberta’s workplaces remain safe when implementation of cannabis legalization takes effect.