Article by Mike Hager, The Globe and Mail
Calgary city staff are recommending that Alberta set up a private retail system for recreational-cannabis sales, similar to its liquor stores, once the drug becomes legal next summer.
Council is set to debate this and other recommendations on cannabis legalization Monday as municipalities across the country begin grappling with the nuts and bolts of regulating a drug that Canadians have largely been prohibited from buying and selling for almost a century.
In a report, staff argue that Calgary, where illegal pot shops are being shut down by police, should ask the provincial government to develop a privatized system of cannabis stores.
“The current method of regulating retail alcohol sales allows for discretion in a variety of areas, including the location of businesses and operating hours,” the report states.
While such a privatized system would fit best into the existing municipal regulatory framework, the city would need a significant amount of provincial or federal sales taxes on the drug to offset the strain of overseeing the new industry, according to the report.
The report also states that further public consultation is needed before the city decides whether to support asking the province to set the minimum age for cannabis at 18, which is when young people can buy tobacco and alcohol in Alberta.