On February 16, 2018, the Government of Alberta introduced updates to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Regulation that will govern how legal cannabis retailers operate. While the regulations will establish a province-wide regulatory framework, municipalities will have the ability to adjust certain aspects to best suit their communities.
The regulation now outlines a number of operational requirements for private retailers, including:
- Mandatory background checks for retail license applicants.
- Mandatory training and background checks for all retail employees.
- One person, group, or organization cannot hold more than 15 per cent of retail licenses in Alberta.
- A 100-metre buffer for stores from schools and provincial health-care facilities. However, municipalities have the ability to adjust these buffer zones or add additional ones to best suit their communities’ needs.
- Store hours set between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m. (the same as liquor stores) with municipalities able to adjust these hours.
- Mandatory security measures in stores.
Role of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) will carry out licensing, oversight, and compliance functions for private cannabis retailers, as well as manage the distribution of cannabis. Details on the process and requirements for applying to be a cannabis retailer are now available, and the AGLC will begin accepting applications for licenses on March 6, 2018.
The AGLC has the authority to set strict regulatory guidelines and license requirements for private cannabis retailers:
- No co-location of cannabis sales with alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco sales will be permitted.
- Regulations will be aligned with federal rules around advertising, labeling and promotion of cannabis, with the ability to strengthen regulations provincially in the future.
The AGLC will also be responsible for operating online cannabis sales for the province. Details of the online e-commerce site will be unveiled later this year.