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Alberta Cannabis Dispensaries Prepare for Recreational Marijuana

March 21, 2018

Canadian provinces are inching closer to recreational marijuana legalization later this year and cannabis retailers are gearing up for a flood of new consumers. Recently, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission announced that close to 250 Alberta cannabis dispensaries will be receiving licenses to sell to adult-use clientele. These license will are expected to cost commercial cannabis retail owners $700 for annual renewal.

The Province of Alberta has issued stringent regulations to ensure that public safety is the primary objective. Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley notes that “These regulations will help support four policy priorities — keeping cannabis out of the hands of children, protecting public health, promoting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public spaces, and limiting the illegal market.”

Background Checks and Employee Training

Before business owners or employees begin working in Alberta cannabis dispensaries, they will be required to undergo a thorough background check and online sell safe training course. Vice-president of regulatory services, David Berry, noted that each applicant must consent to criminal background check, provide detailed financial information, and pay application fees.

Ganley went further by saying “Conviction such as trafficking, or producing illegal drugs, or associations to organized crime or violence will make someone ineligible for a retail licence.” Oversight and enforcement of Alberta’s cannabis regulations for retailers will be conducted by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. The AGLC is still developing protocols on how online sales will work but should have solution by later this year.

Compliance for Alberta Cannabis Dispensaries

While the province has set their own standards of compliance for cannabis retailers they’re giving municipalities the option to adjust operating hours and buffer zones for schools and healthcare facilities.

Operating hours for marijuana dispensary across the entire province have been set at 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., the same as liquor stores. The buffer zone for cannabis retailers will be 100 metres from schools or provincial health-care facilities.

Alberta cannabis dispensaries will also need to meet high standards of security that require advanced video surveillance and alarm systems. All marijuana products on display must be kept in secure display cases that can only be opened by dispensary staff.

Canadian Cannabis Dispensary Response

Many of the investors and business owners of cannabis retailers are pleased with new regulations citing the protections for smaller businesses from big pharma. Owner of the 420 Clinic in Calgary, Jeff Mooji expressed his thoughts on the new legal statutes, “AGLC has done a really good job regulating the liquor industry over the past 20 years, and I’m glad to see they’ve done a really educated approach to this.”

He notes that, “We’re dealing with Big Cannabis, [Big] Business, Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco — I mean they’re all involved. It’s nice that the little guy such as myself will be able to get involved [too].”​ Once marijuana businesses receive their licenses, they’ll need to equip their storefront with compliant dispensary software. Utilizing cannabis software that will provide specific tax tiers, reporting functionality, inventory tracking, and customer management will be extremely advantageous with the increase in traffic.

IndicaOnline can provide all of these features and much more for Canadian marijuana dispensaries. Burgeoning cannabis retailers can sign-up for a free 14-day trial to get familiar with the software and speak with one of our training representatives for a thorough walk-through.