January – MLA Greg Clark’s Report

Calgary Elbow

The Canadian Government is in the process of legalizing cannabis in Canada. They are legalizing, strictly regulating, and restricting access to cannabis in order to keep it out of the hands of Canadian youth, and to prevent organized crime from continuing to profit from the illegal cannabis market.

While the federal government intends introduced legislation to legalize cannabis by July 2018, it is up to the provincial government to establish legislation for the legal and responsible use of cannabis by Albertans.

On November 16, 2017 the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General introduced Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis. The Legislation will regulate everything from minimum age for purchasing, to the amount an adult is legally allowed to possess, to safeguarding the sale of cannabis.

I was happy to see that in the Alberta Cannabis Framework and proposed legislation that the government listened to my call for distributing through privately run retails stores instead of through government owned stores. After analyzing the cost for initial startup, I encouraged the government to allow for private run retails stores, thereby saving the government at least $168 million. It will also save on the ongoing administrative costs related to expanding Alberta’s bureaucracy to run the retail system.

Private cannabis distribution is a significant opportunity for economic diversification, and is much more likely to undercut the black market than a one-size-fits all government distribution system. A private cannabis system will be more responsive to consumer demand, which, coupled with appropriate pricing, will eliminate the black market much more quickly. While I still have some questions about government-run online distribution, overall the private retail model seems like a good approach.

By the time this article is published the Legislation will have made its way through the legislature. If you are interest in learning more, I encourage you to visit https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-legalization.aspx.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 403-252-0346 or [email protected].