Edmonton

AGLC lifts moratorium on new shop licences in Alberta

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis has lifted the moratorium on accepting new cannabis retail applications and will once again begin issuing new licences.

AGLC will issue five new licenses every week

AGLC will consider reinstating the moratorium if supply levels go down. (Tom Neumann)

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis has lifted the moratorium on accepting new cannabis retail applications and will once again begin issuing new licences.

Five new retail licences will be issued every week, the AGLC said in a news release Thursday.

"Lifting the moratorium supports economic development and the success of Alberta's budding cannabis industry," the new release said. 

Since the moratorium was implemented in November, the AGLC has increased the number of producers from 15 to 26, said AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen. 

Maurizio Terrigno, founder of the Canadian Cannabis Chamber, said the end of the moratorium has been a long time coming.

"We've been actively lobbying the province of Alberta for the last year mandating that they open the stores," Terrigno said.

"If they want a free market system, what they needed to do from the start is just open it and let the industry correct itself."

The first five retail licences issued Thursday include three in communities which haven't had a retail location until now.

Plant Life in Fort McMurray, Fleur in Jasper and Equilibrium Cannabis in Lac La Biche are now licensed by the AGLC. 

AGLC said it will continue to monitor supply levels to ensure retailers have enough inventory to operate.

There are currently another 110 applications that have been approved and waiting to be licensed, plus another 473 pending applications.

If supply levels go down, the AGLC said it will consider reinstating the moratorium.