Alberta updates legislation to deal with cannabis legalization

In preparation for the upcoming federal cannabis legalization, Alberta is planning to modernize its Gaming and Liquor Act. The act oversees three main areas; gaming, provincial lotteries and liqour, and now with the legalization of cannabis looming, that will be included in their purview.

“We remain focused on building a system for legal cannabis that prioritizes the safety and security of all Albertans,” says Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “These amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act represent another step in our continued work to prepare for the legalization of cannabis.”

The updates to the legislation would include:

  • The maximum allowable administrative fines for infractions against the Gaming and Liqour act would go from $200,000 to $1 million.
  • There would be rules with regard to what cannabis retailers would be able to call their sales establishments, as well as their products; prohibiting anything that would connote they they were “therapeutic” or “medicinal” in an effort to not lead consumers astray, thereby protecting public health.
  • Permit a court to use the inference of law enforcement officers for the purpose of prosecution, allowing the officer to come to conclusions with regard to what is cannabis based on it’s odour, label or packaging.
  • Create consumption regulations similar to existing rules for alcohol and tobacco to allow for the prosecution of owners of a premises that allows the smoking and/or vaping of marijuana where it is not permitted.
  • Legally allow liquor blending and infusion to modernize liquor policies.

The law would also allow consumers to make their own beer, wine, ciders, and coolers within licensed facilities.
As Joe Ceci, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, states, “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.”

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