Alberta’s Updated Cannabis Regulations: What You Need to Know

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This week Alberta announced more details to its plan to regulate cannabis within the province, as the federal government of Canada moves to legalize adult-use cannabis for non-medical purposes.

The amendments ban cannabis shops from using medical terms such as pharmacy, dispensary, medicine, medicinal, health, therapeutic, or clinic.

The province announced amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act that would regulate both the sale and consumption of non-medical cannabis. The amendments would make it so that cannabis shops would be prohibited from using medical terms such as pharmacy, dispensary, apothecary, drug store, medicine, medicinal, health, therapeutic, or clinic.

In addition, businesses will not be allowed to let people smoke or vape cannabis on their premises—this applies to all businesses, not just cannabis shops, putting the responsibility for adherence on business owners and not just on the consumers of cannabis.

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Cannabis products destined to be sold in retail outlets cannot be altered between the time they are produced and transported for sale in the province, and all cannabis workers in the province will be added to a “qualified employees” list the province is maintaining. Employers must confirm that the individual is on the list in good standing before employing them to work in a premises, and it’s not known yet what the requirements are for interested applicants who want to get themselves on the list.

All cannabis workers in the province will be added to a 'qualified employees' list the province is maintaining.

The changes also included some housekeeping items, including giving the province the ability to charge a wholesale mark-up on cannabis in the future as necessary (similar to the rules for alcohol), as well as a change to the name of the province’s regulatory umbrella to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

The alcohol crowd also got some goodies in the announcements: The province has allowed fermenting-on-premises operations for beer and wine, as well as the alteration of liquor productions. However, it’s unlikely those announcements will mean weed in your wine soon—the federal government’s Cannabis Act prohibits stores from selling cannabis mixed with alcohol.