What’s expected in
Canada and Alberta
Cities seek balance between convenience and safety
Buying cannabis for non-medical usenow that it’s legal will not be as easy asskipping down to the corner store.
With legalization comes a raft ofnew rules at the federal, provincial andmunicipal levels.
The federal government has set ruleson how cannabis is produced and howmuch people can carry with them orkeep at home. It has also decided onadvertising, the minimum age limit andgrowing for personal use. It will continueto oversee the sales of medical cannabis.
Edibles will not be legal for sale untilJuly 2019 at the earliest. “They’re veryingenious in the way they package theseproducts,” says Dr. Gerry Predy, AHS’former senior medical officer of healthand senior medical director, Population,Public and Indigenous Health. Ediblescan look like candy and other foods thatmight tempt children, he says.
Alberta was “first out of the gate”to draft cannabis policy, says FionaClement. The province is a model forother provinces, says Clement, directorof the University of Calgary’s HealthTechnology Assessment Unit at theCumming School of Medicine.
Provinces and territories are overseeingcannabis sales. The Alberta Gaming andLiquor Commission expects to sell 250licences for cannabis stores in 2018, saysJustice Minister Kathleen Ganley. Albertais the only province to go with a privateretail system, as it does with alcohol sales.
Anyone who wants to run a cannabis
store will undergo a background check,
The stores must be at least 100 metres
away from healthcare facilities, schools
and land reserved for schools. Many
towns and cities, such as Fort McMurray,
have set minimum distances from parks,
playgrounds, childcare centres, places
of worship, community centres and
other public areas and events. At least
one town, Taber, has proposed banning
cannabis sales entirely.
The province has also outlawednon-medical cannabis use in schools,daycares and hospitals.
Towns and cities across the provinceare preparing local rules around retaillocations, land use and zoning. They arealso educating citizens and preparinglocal police. Edmonton, for example, isamending its bylaws so garden centrescannot grow cannabis. The city alsoplans to allow cannabis lounges.
Calgary city council passed a cannabisconsumption bylaw in April 2018.Smoking, vaping and eating ediblesis banned in public places. Calgary islooking into allowing cannabis use atpublic events in restricted spaces, similarto beer gardens. Breaking the new bylawmay lead to a ticket and a fine.
Albertans are also able to grow theirown legally obtained cannabis at home:up to four plants per household, indoors.
Clement says the province needs to
recognize missteps and adapt quickly
now that cannabis is legal. “We are going
to get this wrong in some areas,” she
says. “We need to be prepared to nimbly
correct our failures.” |a
REGULATIONS IN ALBERTA
•;Legal age: 18.
•;Retail stores: Cannabis can besold in the form of loose marijuana,joints and oil. Stores may also selllighters and rolling papers. Clerksmust be at least 18 and havecannabis sales education.
•;Locations: Stand-alone stores,separate from alcohol, medicinaldrugs and tobacco sales.
•;Online sales: Albertans can buyonline through services controlledby the Alberta Liquor and GamingCommission.
•;Growing at home: Limit of fourplants per household, indoors only.
•;Possession: Limit of 30 grams perperson, but no limit on amount inthe home. Zero-tolerance policyfor anyone under 18. Youth foundwith five grams or less will befined, drugs seized and parentsor guardians notified. Youth foundwith larger quantities may facefederal prosecution.
•;Smoking locations: Restrictedto where tobacco smoking andvaping is allowed.