Alberta cannabis retailers ready to launch online sales

Online cannabis sales in Alberta are expected to change next month with the closure of the only current legal seller.

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) operates the province’s only legal online retailer – AlbertaCannabis.org – but the site is shutting down on March 8.

“Licensed cannabis retailers in Alberta will be able to offer online sales of cannabis products. Licensed cannabis retailers will continue to provide consumers with legal, high-quality product choices,” the website reads. of the AGLC.

Alberta currently has 748 licensed cannabis retailers, including 194 in Calgary.

The government website reported only around $200,000 in cannabis sales per year, but there is a significant black market of unlicensed online sellers. Retailers hope the move to privatize online sales will help weed out bad actors.

“We’ve seen the total share of illicit market cannabis sales in Canada drop from around 87% three years ago to just under 50% today,” said Omar Khan of High Tide Inc.

The company operates more than 50 Canna Cabana stores across the province and plans to immediately open the online marketplace in Calgary and Edmonton.

“Fifty percent is still representative of a resilient illicit market,” he said.

Approved Alberta retailers will need to apply to the AGLC for permission to sell online and must follow the province’s delivery and age verification regulations.

“In Alberta, before they can access the website, the consumer will have to verify their age. Not just through self-attestation, but through something stronger than that,” Khan said.

The closure of the government cannabis sales site comes after a law was passed in November allowing private retailers to access the online market. At the time, Finance Minister Travis Toews said the change “would have the real potential to displace some of the illicit trade that is taking place now”.


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David A. Albanese