Alberta government releasing more details on proposed pot legislation

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley will provide details of proposed cannabis legislation on Thursday.

The legislation will provide rules around selling marijuana when it becomes legal in July 2018.

Alberta has already proposed making 18 the minimum age to buy and use marijuana.

READ MORE: Alberta government details pot plan, proposes 18 as minimum age

In October, Ganley said the four priorities for the Alberta government will be keeping cannabis out of the hands of children, promoting public health, keeping roads, workspaces and public areas safe and eliminating the sale of cannabis on the black market.

However, it’s still not clear how distribution will work. It’s thought there may be room for private retailers, although there are reports the government will want to keep online stores for itself.

The federal government has proposed a 10 per cent tax on marijuana to be split 50/50 with provinces, but Alberta’s NDP government has said it wants a bigger share.

On Tuesday, Transportation Minister Brian Mason introduced Bill 29 to align with the federal cannabis legalization plan.

READ MORE: Alberta introducing rules to align with federal cannabis legalization plan

The new Criminal Code rules would see a fine for a driver with less than five nanograms of THC, the cannabis compound that gives the user a “high” in their bloodstream. Stiffer fines and eventually mandatory jail time could be imposed for those caught with five nanograms or more.

“Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada,” Mason said Tuesday after introducing Bill 29 in the legislature.

“If this bill passes, it will support our government’s goal of zero impairment (and) related collisions and fatalities on Alberta roads.”

Bill 29 would also have a fixed-term suspension of 90 days, but it could be extended to a year if the driver doesn’t agree to participate in an ignition interlock program, at a cost of $1,400.

Ottawa is bringing in a roadside saliva test to check for drug impairment, and the rules are expected to be in place when marijuana is legalized.

The federal government will handle overall health rules but the provinces will decide how to distribute and sell cannabis.

More to come…

— With files from Jodi Hughes and The Canadian Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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