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Alberta Reduces Red Tape for Retailers

Alberta is simplifying cannabis regulations in an effort to reduce red tape and give retailers more time to focus on their business.

Policy Changes in January

Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC) announced several policy changes that will take effect on January 31, 2024:

  • Licensed cannabis retailers can operate temporary sales locations at adults-only events like trade shows and festivals.
  • Cannabis retailers can keep their products in locked display cases when the store is closed rather than moving everything into a secured storage room at the close of every business day.
  • Restrictions are removed on sales and transfers between cannabis retailers and to further allow AGLC to establish resale markup limits.

These changes come five years after legalization and the exponential growth of Alberta’s cannabis market.

Industry Reacts

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction says, “We’ve been looking at the cannabis market to determine what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what’s redundant or unnecessary, while protecting public health and safety. These changes are the result of our latest work to help curb the illegal cannabis industry and continue providing choices Albertans can trust.”

In response to the changes, Raj Grover, Founder and CEO of High Tide Inc. says, “I am thrilled with these common-sense changes such as allowing cannabis retailers to operate temporary sales locations for adults at festivals and trade shows. The removal of unnecessary red tape for the cannabis industry will safeguard the tens of thousands of jobs that have been created since legalization.”

Marcie Kiziak, President of Cannabis Retail at SNDL adds, “The regulatory updates are a significant stride towards enhancing stability and reducing red tape for cannabis retailers while maintaining a commitment to public safety. The improvements enable more effective inventory management, increased promotional opportunities, and continued migration from the illicit market to better support the entire retail network.”

Increasing Competitive Advantage

AGLC says the regulation changes will reduce barriers and costs for legal cannabis retailers to better combat the illicit market by increasing the competitive advantage of legal retailers. Businesses will also save time and money by providing more flexibility in managing merchandise in stock.

All restrictions around consumption and prohibiting access for youth will remain the same.

Other Policy Changes

AGLC has made several other policy changes this year, including:

  • Removing restrictions for retail cannabis store signage to allow for more flexibility in store names
  • Simplifying the steps required for age verification for online licensed cannabis websites
  • Reducing listing fees for licensed producers by 83% and shipping fees for retailers by 11%
  • Providing cannabis retailers with the option to open for business at 9:00 am
  • Authorizing licensed producers to give cannabis samples to retail cannabis store licensees to promote products and increase knowledge
  • Enabling AGLC to supply sales data free of charge

In 2022, as part of The Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, the provincial government allowed merchants to sell retailer-branded merchandise and apparel in their stores. After years of lobbying efforts by industry, it also rescinded its window covering rules and allowed for the delivery and consumption of cannabis products at concerts and music festivals.

Tags: AGLC (36), Alberta (18), Alberta cannabis retail (15), Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (12), Cannabis Regulations (103), Marcie Kiziak (6), Raj Grover (31)