Edmonton could be a leader for cannabis cafes and lounges, advocates say

Gummies, chocolate, tea and sparkling water have been on the shelves of cannabis retail stores since the beginning of the year but now advocates of edibles are pushing governments to sanction social venues where people can share these products in public. 

Retailers made the case for cannabis lounges and cafes to Edmonton city council's community and public services committee Wednesday. 

Edmonton could be a leader in the up-and-coming industry, suggested Nathan Mison, Fire & Flower's vice president of government and stakeholder relations.

"Edmonton and Alberta have a real opportunity if they show the progressive capability of moving it forward," Mison said. 


‘Wild west on vaping products’: 50,000 Alberta teens used it within 30 days shows health survey

Roughly 50,000 school-age children in Alberta have dabbled in vaping within a 30-day period, shows a new survey that has sparked renewed calls for stricter legislation.

“It is the wild west on vaping products,” said Les Hagen, with Action on Smoking and Health, on Monday. “The federal and provincial governments have had a lot of time to act. They were kind of looking at each other, wondering who would move first but unfortunately, in the meantime, all of these marketing firms and vaping companies moved in and decided to create a youth epidemic.”


Cannabis store robberies in Alberta prompt retailers to remove legislated window coverings

A series of cannabis store robberies in Alberta has led some retailers to tear down window coverings initially erected to satisfy federal legislation.

Those visual obstructions were meant to adhere to the Cannabis Act to keep cannabis products and accessories out of the view of minors.

But retailer Nathan Mison said those window coverings compromise the safety of staff by making it easier for robbers to commit their crimes.

“We’ve made ourselves a target by making it so someone can come in, lock the door and take all the time they want robbing a store because no one can see in,” said Mison, spokesman for the Edmonton-based Fire and Flower Cannabis chain.

“Nobody should be in jeopardy at their work.”


Future of cannabis lounges hinge on provincial, federal legislation: report

The city’s community and public services committee is slated to review a report on the future of cannabis lounges next week.

But before the businesses can hit Edmonton’s streets, Alberta and Ottawa have to roll out separate legislations.

The report headed to Tuesday’s meeting states no provinces have licensed cannabis lounges or cafes, however, some American states do. In California, for example, businesses have to be 600 feet from a daycare, school or youth centre, must have an odour absorbing ventilation system and have security guards patrolling during business hours.


Cannabis extract prices vary 'wildly' between provincially run stores

A CBC News analysis has revealed the price of cannabis extracts varies widely across Canada, with the same product sometimes costing two to three times more in one provincially run online store than another.

The inconsistencies, experts say, could undermine efforts to wipe out the country's illegal market. 

The analysis looked at the price of 61 cannabis capsules, sprays and oils available in Ontario's provincially run online retailer in December 2019. 

Those products were then matched with their counterparts from the online provincial retailers in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador — provinces where the government is an official distributor and runs an online mail-order site.  


Edmonton will legalize cannabis cafes this year, city councillor says

Would you like gummies with that?

Edmonton tourists and residents could be asking that at one of Canada’s first legal cannabis cafes this year, if one city councillor gets his way.

Coun. Mike Nickel of Ward 11 said his motion to set up cannabis cafe regulations is gaining steam after holding several meetings with Alberta industry players and regulators over the last two months.

Edmonton will legalize cannabis cafes this year, city councillor says

Cannabis consumption cafes are coming to the city of Edmonton this year, says city councillor Mike Nickel.


Cannabis vapes coming to Alberta dispensaries this month

The Alberta government quietly informed cannabis retailers late Friday that vape cartridges will be available for order starting Monday.

The decision comes a little over one month after the province put a hold on releasing the cartridges, saying it wanted to review the safety of the products.

Cannabis vape cartridges are already legally available in other provinces and are easily obtainable on the black market, according to cannabis retailers.

Heather Holmen, communications manager for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), confirmed an email went out to retailers Friday alerting them that the products would be on their weekly order forms starting Monday.


Alberta attracts millions to its pristine wilderness. So why isn’t cannabis tourism flourishing?

Last spring, Darrin Zeer invited a handful of guests to his cannabis-infused yoga retreat in Alberta’s Bragg Creek, nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies just west of Calgary’s metropolitan hum.

The Alberta-born, Colorado-based yoga teacher and mindfulness expert is accustomed to offering cannabis samples at his retreats. But this one was different: Those who attended his Bragg Creek event had to bring their own weed. And even though cannabis for recreational use became legal in October of 2018, facility managers were also hesitant to host the event — guests weren’t given its address until after they registered.

Even in Alberta, one of the most liberal provinces in Canada for cannabis use, legalization hasn’t sparked a successful wave of cannabis tourism.


Edmonton police say impact of weed legalization lower than expected despite rise in drug-driving

Although recent numbers indicate an increase in the number of drug-impaired driving arrests, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) reports the overall impact of cannabis legalization has been lower than initially expected.

Police suspect that about 39 drug-impaired driving arrests between January and October 2019 have involved cannabis consumption, versus a suspected 33 arrests during the same period in the previous year.

The picture may become clearer with a report headed to city council this week indicating police expect that factors such as second-wave cannabis products and more legal supply to increase those numbers.


'To be expected': Patience urged over limited supply of cannabis edibles

Cannabis retailers say the appetite for pot-infused edibles is outstripping the supply — and the provincial distributor can’t say when that will change.

It’s a replay of what occurred a year ago when logistical and regulatory hurdles created a shortage of cannabis in stores, a bottleneck that led to a six-month halt on new pot shops being approved by regulator-wholesaler Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.

“This was definitely to be expected in a brand new industry,” said AGLC spokeswoman Heather Holmen.


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