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Cannabis legalization prompts update of Alberta gaming and liquor laws

Cannabis retailers will be prohibited from suggesting their products are therapeutic or medicinal in their branding, under a proposed update to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Act

Proposed changes will allow establishment of 'you brew' outlets across Alberta

The Alberta government is updating its gaming and liquor act to comply with the legalization of small amounts of recreational cannabis later this year. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Cannabis retailers will be prohibited from suggesting their products are therapeutic or medicinal in their branding, under a proposed update to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Act.

The amendments, introduced Monday in the legislature, also change the name of the administrative body to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission. But the old acronym, AGLC, will remain in place.

The Alberta government is making the changes in preparation for Canada's legalization of small amounts of recreational cannabis later this summer.

Other changes to the legislation include a ban on vaping or smoking cannabis in retail stores, and making it illegal to alter a cannabis product, like taking the cannabis out of a pre-rolled joint and selling it separately.

The maximum administrative fines for infractions of the Gaming and Liquor Act and regulation would increase from $200,000 to $1 million.

The AGLC would also be allowed, under changes to the act, to issue cannabis licences to operators of general stores in small, remote communities that lack other retail outlets.

The AGLC has issued similar licences for liquor sales in about 60 to 70 communities in Alberta.

The changes also address some long-standing issues for how the provinces regulate liquor.

Albertans will soon be able to brew their own beer and wine in "you-brew" outlets that are already available in other provinces.  

Alberta currently allows the use of wine and beer kits at home. The changes mean retailers can set up store space where customers can use equipment to make wine and beer.

Changes in the act would also allow bartenders to prepare their own liquor infusions like vodka with lemon or spices.

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