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Canada Notley says Alberta will be ready for legal pot, whenever it actually occurs

07:32  05 june  2018
07:32  05 june  2018 Source:   calgaryherald.com

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Despite ongoing uncertainty over when cannabis will officially become legal , Premier Rachel Notley says the Alberta government will be ready to roll when it comes to regulating and selling legal weed. Bolstering the premier’s claim

Notley says Alberta will be ready for legal pot , whenever it actually occurs . Despite ongoing uncertainty over when cannabis will officially become legal , Premier Rachel Notley says the Alberta government will be ready to roll when it comes to regulating and selling legal we…

Calgary© Gavin Young / Postmedia Calgary

Despite ongoing uncertainty over when cannabis will officially become legal, Premier Rachel Notley says the Alberta government will be ready to roll when it comes to regulating and selling legal weed.

Bolstering the premier’s claim, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission says its online site for cannabis sales has staff and suppliers, and could be operational by the end of the month, while more than 600 applications for private pot shops have come in to the province.

With cannabis legislation before the Senate this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed the Liberal government will legalize marijuana for recreational use this summer, but there is still no firm date.

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Notley says Alberta will be ready for legal pot , whenever it actually occurs . Despite ongoing uncertainty over when cannabis will officially become legal , Premier Rachel Notley says the Alberta government will be ready to roll when it comes to regulating and selling legal we…

In B.C., the maximum punishment for selling pot outside of the provincial framework will be a 0,000 fine and 12 months in jail. Notley says Alberta will be ready for legal pot , whenever it actually occurs .

It was originally expected that cannabis would be legalized by Canada Day, but the timeline has been pushed back.

Speaking to reporters Monday in Red Deer, Notley said provincial officials are trying to get clarity from Ottawa around the timing of legalization.

“What we can say is that the government of Alberta has been planning to be ready by July 1, so we will be ready by July 1 and then, ultimately, if it’s delayed we’ll be ready at that point as well,” Notley said after a speech to the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

The AGLC is regulating private businesses that will operate brick and mortar marijuana shops, while the government agency will have a monopoly on online cannabis sales in Alberta.

“Certainly, not all of the private operators will be able to be up and running immediately,” said Notley.

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Notley says she knows Horwath quite well and they get along. Of course, that’s exactly what Alberta New Democrats used to say about Notley and Horgan. Notley says Alberta will be ready for legal pot , whenever it

Alberta Premier Notley said earlier that her province was also involved in the financial discussions that have already begun with Kinder Morgan. Notley said her government would pursue its own legal recourse to the dispute, promising legislation to protect her province's resource sector.

“But because the government of Alberta will also be doing online sales, that piece of it will be in place and we’ll continue to look as quickly as we can to bring everything else online.”

AGLC spokeswoman Kaleigh Miller said the commission’s e-commerce site at albertacannabis.org will be ready to go once legalization occurs. The AGLC has already contracted with 13 companies to provide cannabis for online sales and it has hired about 40 staff to work at a call centre to support the e-commerce site.

She said the organization always had July 1 as its target for being operational.

“There’s things that would probably need fine-tuning but we could definitely do business as of that date,” said Miller.

The AGLC has received 609 applications for licences for retail stores but none have been granted yet. Miller said they won’t be approved until municipalities finalize their bylaws and zoning.

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"They must think everybody was born yesterday," Notley said . "They are still reserving the right to play legal rope-a-dope until the cows come home. "We believe it would be reckless in the extreme and therefore highly unlikely that Alberta will actually attempt to use the powers they granted themselves

While the outlook is fairly clear on the business side of the cannabis equation in Alberta, there are still outstanding issues around the law-enforcement side.

The federal legislation brings in sweeping new measures around impaired driving to try to prevent drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

However, the federal government is still evaluating new technology, including roadside drug tests, for use in Canada.

Jason van Rassel, a spokesman for Alberta Justice and Solicitor-General, said in the meantime police can rely on their own observations, witness statements and physical evidence to determine whether charges can be laid. Beyond field tests such as making a suspected impaired driver walk in a straight line, police services also have trained drug recognition officers.

“Police already have the authority, and the means, to detect and prosecute drivers who are impaired by cannabis and other drugs,” van Rassel said in an email statement.

The Senate is expected to pass an amended version of the Liberal government’s legalization bill this week, which will then go back to the House of Commons for consideration. With summer break approaching, the Trudeau government has signalled the House will not adjourn until the legislation is passed.

Notley would not criticize the federal government for the lack of a firm timeline.

“It’s a big change, so everybody is working very quickly on it and sometimes there are delays,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, our focus is that we do this safely, that we do this responsibly and that we also support the folks who are engaged in it legally.”

jwood@postmedia.com

Graham Thomson: Will anti-pipeline 'hell' break loose in B.C. this summer? .
Snap quiz. Here are two recent quotes about the planned Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Which of them most accurately predicts the summer ahead? Quote 1: “It’s time to pick those tools back up. We’ve got a pipeline to build.” Quote 2: “All hell is about to break loose in British Columbia." Snap quiz.

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