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Calgary cannabis stores open for business on day one of legalization
Cannabis is now legal across Canada and retail stores in the city are expected to be busy on the first day of legalization.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission will oversee Alberta’s licensing and sales and will work with 15 companies to supply the 19 retail outlets that will open in the province on Wednesday.
Two of those stores are in Calgary; Nova Cannabis in Willow Park and Four20 Premium Market in Southland Crossing.
“We will help navigate consumers through their cannabis journey, answer their questions, we anticipate there to be a lot of questions. A lot of interest in how it works,” said Shelley Girard, from Nova Cannabis. “The thing that's really important to us is that we are creating an environment that’s comfortable and accessible and shoppable.”
“We’ve been working with the landlord and the City of Calgary police service and we’re ready to do crowd control. If a thousand people show up, we’ll be ready for them,” said Ryan Kyle, Four20 Premium Market.
A few people were lined up outside the Four20 store and said they are excited to be able to use cannabis legally.
“I just wanted to come out and beat the rush and I thought there’d be kind of a big lineup,” said Rick. “Came out to be part of history.”
“I got here about 3 a.m. so it’s been about two hours,” said Liam Young. “I didn’t know if there was going to be a huge line or not but ended up being third in line, pretty excited for this kind of thing, it’s a big event.”
Public consumption of cannabis is banned in the City of Calgary but it can be consumed on private property.
The city says it will be constantly reevaluating the rules in the coming months.
“Everything that we are putting out there right now is our best guess of what‘s going to happen but with that being said we are perfectly aware of the fact that we can’t anticipate everything and as such we’re definitely going to be continually monitoring this, we’re going to be reporting back to council in a years’ time with updates on how legalization has gone and we’re also going to be amending our bylaws as necessary,’ said Matt Zabloski, Lead for the city's legalization project.
City officials say 11 additional cannabis retailers have already been approved in Calgary and they are just waiting for the go-ahead from the province.
Canadians will be allowed to buy and/or carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis and for those who want to grow it, four plants will be allowed per household.
The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University are prohibiting the use of cannabis on campus.
The U of C’s cannabis policy prohibits smoking, vaping and ingesting cannabis at all university facilities, including residence buildings, and states that anyone carrying the product on campus must have it in a sealed, scent-proof container.
SAIT is also banning cannabis smoking or vaping on school property.
A patchwork approach to when and where people can consume cannabis is also in place in the Rockies, west of Calgary.
This week, Parks Canada clarified its cannabis rules for the national parks, including Banff National Park.
Visitors can consume cannabis at registered campsites and backcountry and hiking trails throughout the park but it will not be permitted in common areas within campsites such as playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, parking areas or roads.
Smoking and vaping will not be allowed within the Town of Banff. Lake Louise will allow visitors to use cannabis in public, as will the village in Watertown Lakes National Park.
Sunshine Village has a no-cannabis policy for the mountain and Lake Louise Ski Resort says it will only allow cannabis where smoking is presently permitted.
The legal age to purchase cannabis is 19 in most provinces but will be 18 in Alberta.
Penalties for driving while high vary from province to province but in Alberta, first time offenders will receive an immediate 90-day licence suspension and have their vehicle seized for three days.
First time offenders will also have to go through a mandatory driving program as well as a one year ignition interlock program and pay a $1,000 fine.
For a second offence, the driver will have their licence suspended for 90 days and face a mandatory 30-day jail time. They will also have to take a driving course and participate in a one-year ignition interlock program.
For a third offence, the driver will serve 120 days in jail and will be required to take the mandatory driving course and the ignition interlock program.
AGLC officials say over 4,000 orders were received online by 11:00 a.m. and that about 22,000 people have registered so far.
The AGLC says more than 100 cannabis retailers will open across Alberta in the next month and it expects to licence 250 stores over the next year.
Cannabis can be bought at licensed stores or online HERE.
For more information on cannabis store locations, click HERE.
For complete coverage of cannabis legalization in Canada, visit our Marijuana Legalization in Canada page HERE.
(With files from Janet Dirks)
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Liam Young has been in line since 3am at Four20 Premium Market - he’s looking forward to finally being able to legally purchase cannabis once the store opens at 10am #yyc #LegalizationDay @CTVMorningYYC @CTVCalgary pic.twitter.com/q9qPeSyuLi— Mark Villani (@CTVMarkVillani) October 17, 2018
About a couple dozen people are now in line at Four20 Premium Market in #Calgary. The retail #Cannabis store opens up at 10am #yyc #CannabisCanada @CTVNews @CTVCalgary @CTVMorningYYC pic.twitter.com/ZjuoxeNsOr— Mark Villani (@CTVMarkVillani) October 17, 2018
We’re just under 30 min away from Four20 Premium Market opening up in #Calgary. Here’s a look at the lineup - about 100 people are waiting to get inside #yyc #CannabisCanada @CTVCalgary @CTVMorningYYC @CTVNews pic.twitter.com/yVj3cjO1CR— Mark Villani (@CTVMarkVillani) October 17, 2018
A little show and tell of the line up to purchase legal pot at #Four20PM in #YYC— Stephanie Wiebe (@RecordStephanie) October 17, 2018
I’d say the line has grown a bit even since 10am #october17 #potlegalization #cannabisINCanada @CTVCalgary pic.twitter.com/Yq45TK4dKh
The cannabis is kept at the back of the stores. There are no shelves here and no sampling. Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis is the provincial wholesaler. It also sells cannabis online. #cannabiscanada #calgary#novacannabis pic.twitter.com/UGHqVJLC1L— JanetDirks (@janetdirks) October 17, 2018