Alberta justice minister wants more consultation on where to allow sales of marijuana

Alberta’s Justice Minister says more consultation needs to be done with municipalities and law enforcement agencies before the province decides how and where Albertans will be able to legally buy marijuana.

A federal committee recommends cannabis not be sold alongside alcohol and tobacco

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says where Albertans buy legal pot will depend on how the federal government decides to regulate it.

More consultation needs to be done with municipalities and law-enforcement agencies before Alberta decides where and how people will be allowed to legally buy marijuana, says Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.

A task force appointed by the federal government to study the legalization of marijuana said Tuesday that sales should be restricted to those 18 and older, and personal possession limits should be set at 30 grams.

It further recommended that cannabis be sold in retail outlets, but not in stores that also sell alcohol or tobacco.  

Alberta is the only province where there are no government-owned liquor stores.

Ganley said a recommendation that marijuana not be sold alongside liquor is "probably right."

The decision about where consumers will be able to buy pot depends on how the federal government chooses to regulate it, Ganley said.

"If they want to regulate it from more of a medical end, a pharmacy might be a better idea," she said. "But if they want to regulate it differently than that, there might be private outlets."

Alberta liquor stores disappointed

The Alberta Liquor Store Association said it's disappointed the committee recommended against allowing the sale of marijuana in liquor stores.

"Not only does this contradict the recommendation to allow provinces to decide, it ignores the solid track record Alberta's private liquor retailers have earned when it comes to the responsible sale of controlled substances," association president Ivonne Martinez said in a news release, 

The federal report also recommends that Ottawa impose many of the same restrictions that currently apply to alcohol and tobacco sales, including limits on advertising to discourage use by young people.

"I'm not particularly inclined to an age younger than 18," Ganley said. "I think it's important that we be having an eye to protect children in these instances."