Albertans’ health and safety will be top priority as the province looks to modernize the Gaming and Liquor Act before cannabis is legalized by the federal government.
The amendments would give the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) the tools necessary to oversee and enforce Alberta’s new cannabis market in advance of cannabis legalization, expected this summer.
“We remain focused on building a system for legal cannabis that prioritizes the safety and security of all Albertans. These amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act represent another step in our continued work to prepare for the legalization of cannabis.”
~Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
The updates, which include increased fines and naming restrictions, would help to further protect public health, keep cannabis out of the hands of children and limit the illegal market.
“Restricting how cannabis retailers name their stores and products is an important step in protecting public health. Stores that will sell cannabis for recreational use are not pharmacies, nor will they have professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners. The Alberta College of Pharmacists supports this legislation.”
~Greg Eberhart, registrar, Alberta College of Pharmacists
If passed, the proposed amendments would:
- Prohibit naming and branding cannabis retailers and products with terms and symbols that have medical connotations such as “therapeutic” or “medicinal.”
- Increase the maximum administrative fines for infractions of the Gaming and Liquor Act and regulation from $200,000 to $1 million.
- Allow a court to rely on a law enforcement officer’s ability to infer that a product is cannabis based on its packaging, labelling or smell, for the purposes of offenses under this act, mirroring the current practice for alcohol and tobacco.
- Create an offence to enable enforcement against an owner or operator of a premises who allows smoking or vaping of cannabis where it is prohibited, similar to existing rules for alcohol and tobacco.
- Enable the legal blending and infusion of liquor products in an effort to modernize liquor policies.
The proposed changes would also provide new opportunities within the liquor industry, including ferment-on-premises. This would allow consumers to make their own beer, wine, ciders and coolers within licensed facilities.
“Our government has worked to eliminate unnecessary regulation that negatively impacts our restaurant and bar industry. Ferment-on-premises and blending of liquor products represent common sense changes that open new revenue streams for business and allows Albertans another way to responsibly enjoy themselves.”
~Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
“This is something that my customers have been asking for years. I am pleased to see action being taken to allow ferment-on-premises in Alberta. I look forward to expanding my business in the future to offer this service.”
~Al Henderson, Creative Connoisseur Inc.