Province proposes pot policies

Leader staff

The Leader reported recently about Slave Lake town council’s discussions about how to deal with legal cannabis. The provincial government’s even more recent announcements on the same topic are relevant to the continuing story.
The province is considering several pieces of legislation with regard to the sale of cannabis.
Whatever the town ends up doing with regard to development permits for the entrepreneurs who are keen to get into the business of pot sales will depend on what the province actually ends up doing.
For starters, what’s proposed is that the same agency that regulates liquor and gambling will get the authority to regulate cannabis sales. A second proposal is to forbid claims that ‘recreational’ cannabis products are ‘therapeutic’ or ‘medicinal.’
Further, the Government of Alberta proposes an amendment that would, “allow a court to rely on a law enforcement officer’s ability to infer that a product is cannabis-based on its packaging, labelling or smell, for the purposes of offenses under this act, mirroring the current practice for alcohol and tobacco.”
In other words, if it looks like cannabis, it probably is, and lab analysis is not required for a conviction.
Also proposed is a new charge for owners or operators who allow smoking of cannabis where it isn’t allowed.
The organization representing pharmacists seems to like it.
“Restricting how cannabis retailers name their stores and products is an important step in protecting public health,” says Greg Eberhart of the Alberta College of Pharmacists. “Stores that will sell cannabis for recreational use are not pharmacies, nor will they have professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners. The Alberta College of Pharmacists supports this legislation.”
Announced at the same time are proposed changes to the Liquor Act which will allow the ‘blending and infusing’ of liquors at the premises that sell it. This is an attempt to modernize the rules and answer a demand, says the GOA.

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