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Cannabis Cafes in Edmonton?

Fire & Flower’s vice president of government and stakeholder relations Nathan Mison, and Lisa Campbell, co-chair of the Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance, talked to Edmonton city council’s community and public services committee on February 26 about creating a bylaw to allow cannabis lounges and cafes.

Mison suggested that Edmonton could be a leader in the up-and-coming industry by re-skinning existing liquor consumption bylaws for cannabis. According to Campbell, it could open up opportunities for bars, restaurants, or spa services to use cannabis in new, innovative ways.

This presentation comes a week after the city released a report outlining three possible models for cannabis consumption sites: a stand-alone facility for just edibles, a combined location for edibles and alcohol, and a location that allows both edibles and alcohol to be consumed, but separately.

Like tobacco, smoking or vaping cannabis inside would not be allowed.

Edmonton city councillor Mike Nickel sees the potential for economic growth, particularly with the stand-alone cafe option in Edmonton, and says that he is interested in not only bringing cannabis cafes to Edmonton, but the manufacturing of the product as well.

Before any of that can happen, the province would need to revise the legislation that already exists. As it sits right now, there is no specific provincial legislation for cannabis consumption sites and Alberta’s Treasury Board and Finance Ministry have no current plans to create any.

The federal government is required to review the Cannabis Act by Oct. 17, 2021, and submit any suggested changes by Apr. 17, 2023, so it could be a while before we see anything happen.

However, allowing lounges is ultimately a provincial matter.

Nickel told CBC that he believes the hospitality industry could have the power to pave the way for cannabis cafes. He says that if someone from industry presents a business case to the city, then they can lobby the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, which can help change the rules.

John Carle, executive director of the Alberta Cannabis Council, told CBC that it’s not clear yet if there’s a strong interest in starting such lounges.

“I don’t know who’s going to be that first company to take that first step because someone’s got to break the mould here and it just seems like everyone’s waiting for everyone else to do it.”

Ontario Considering Consumption Sites

Ontario is requesting the public’s feedback on cannabis consumption establishments as well as cannabis special occasion permits, which would allow for the purchase and consumption of cannabis at entertainment venues and festivals. Comments are requested by March 10th. Visit this site to make your comments today.

Photo courtesy of Hotbox Café