As Canada prepares to legalize recreational marijuana next year, the provincial governments are drafting the rules that will regulate the market.
Last week Alberta sparked criticism when it revealed the framework that will set the rules for sale and distribution of recreational cannabis in the province. It’s similar to the model proposed by Ontario in September that provisions government-regulated distribution of cannabis and sales and usage limitations.
Ontario also plans to set a minimum age requirement of 19 for the purchase and consumption and will allow online sales and deliveries.The draft includes opening 80 government-run pot shops which could be expanded to 150 by 2020.
Meanwhile, Alberta’s draft rules will allow the possession of 30 grams marijuana consumption with an age limit of 18 years old and above. It would also permit households to grow up to four plants and will ban smoking and vaping in vehicles. Online sales won’t be available initially, but may be possible in the future.
“If it goes Ontario’s model, I become richer,” said a local dealer, who spoke to CBC Calgary News on the condition of anonymity. According to him, if the government controls the cannabis businesses, the black market in Alberta will continue to expand.
Cannabis activists also have expressed their criticism over the lack of marijuana stores in Ontario. It’s not clear yet whether the pot shops in Alberta will be privately run or operated by the government.
Both provinces will apply similar restrictions on the public cannabis usage as they do on tobacco and alcohol consumption.
The federal government plans to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 2018, but have left provincial governments to write their own rules for the sale and distribution of cannabis.
A key point in negotiations is regarding the taxation which has a large effect on the illegal sales. Ontario aims to charge a price of $10 per gram, but that may push people away from the legal stores, as cannabis is usually being sold for between $6 and $8 a gram on the streets.