Three pot stores get green light

The number of cannabis retailers in Medicine Hat is set to double as provincial regulators have approved another batch of licences.

It brings the local number of outlets to six, including four on or near a six-block stretch of S. Railway Street.

The locations could be open in early May, about six months after the first stores were approved.

About 20 prospective operators have applied for local permits, but supply issues halted new provincial licences.

Many applicants have rented space since the summer, and have completed renovations and security upgrades that are a precondition of securing a licence.

After the wait, local owner of “the Leaf” is excited to get underway.


Pot retailers stuck with pricey leases as they await solutions to supply shortage

“It’s been a pretty tough, long winter for us. We both have families and we’ve had to make financial sacrifices,” said Breault, whose shop “Green Easy” remains shuttered as they await approval from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the provincial agency overseeing Alberta’s cannabis industry.

Last week, the AGLC said an improving supply of marijuana allowed them to begin issuing 26 more retail licences, a slight easing on a moratorium bringing the number of Alberta retailers to 101.

But the slight increase in cannabis availability is still not enough to completely lift the moratorium, leaving an estimated 600 prospective pot retailers stuck in limbo.


Alberta's per capita legal cannabis sales leaves other provinces in its smoke

While the province hosts only 11.6 per cent of Canada’s population, it accounted for 27.7 per cent of legal pot sales in 2018, states a study conducted by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.

That discrepancy is far greater than any other province, including notoriously cannabis-friendly B.C. where revenue gleaned from legal pot sales lagged well behind its share of the national population.

“Total (Alberta) spending on legal cannabis reached $217 million in 2018, accounting for 28 per cent of total nationwide sales, more than twice its share of Canada’s population,” states the report.

“Alberta’s comparatively liberal regulatory regime suggests it will rank among the fastest-growing cannabis markets.”


Marijuana activists and enthusiasts gather for annual Edmonton 420 celebration

The sound of drums was steady and a "skunky" odour hung in the air Saturday afternoon at the Alberta Legislature.

Medicinal and recreational users alike marked the day popularized by cannabis enthusiasts. Around 400 people gathered for the yearly rally outside of the Alberta Legislature, much less than the crowd of more than 1,000 at last year's festivities.

Marijuana legalization may have happened in October but that didn't stop the annual 420 rally at the legislature because some say the fight is not over yet.

Kenneth Kirk, the leader of the Alberta Marijauna Party, says parties like his are more relevant than ever despite legalization as the laws are disjointed across Canada.


Albertans appear willing to pay more for cannabis, now that it's legal

Albertans appear willing to pay more for marijuana, now that it's legal.

Data from Statistics Canada suggests this province saw one of the steepest increases in the average price of pot, post-legalization, when you include both legal purchases and those on the black market.

Prior to legalization, Albertans were paying about $7.30 per gram for marijuana. That was about 6.6 per cent more than the national average.

After legalization, the average price for pot in this province — both legal and illegal — jumped to $9.07 per gram. That's 12.8 per cent above the national average price.

In British Columbia, by contrast, average prices barely changed with legalization, growing just slightly to $7.15, up from $6.89.


Aurora to expand cannabis facility in Medicine Hat by 33%

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO 3.67%) said it is expanding the size of a marijuana production facility currently under construction in Medicine Hat, Alta., by 33 per cent. The Edmonton-based pot producer said in a release Wednesday that it is increasing its high-tech Aurora Sun facility from an original plan of 1.2 million square feet to 1.62 million square feet, as the firm seeks to ramp up production amid growing global demand for medical cannabis.

Aurora said it expects the Medicine Hat facility will produce more than 230,000 kilograms of cannabis per year.


Edmonton cannabis stores stocking seeds as first legal growing season approaches

The legalization of cannabis last October included the option for private citizens to grow plants at home, but seeds weren’t available from distributors in Alberta until last month. Seeds are now available through Fire and Flower Cannabis online and at their location in Sherwood Park as well as at Nova Cannabis in Edmonton.

Jayden Colwell, a first-time grower, expects to get eight ounces worth of smokable marijuana once he harvests the plants he’s growing in his Calgary home. “If you can get a tomato plant to grow, you can get a cannabis plant to grow,” said Colwell. “They call it weed for a reason, it’s fairly easy.”


Calgary eyes extension for 100+ unopened cannabis stores whose permits could lapse as they wait for product

Calgary is looking to extend its normal deadlines for more than 100 cannabis stores that have been approved by city planners but have yet to open due to a shortage of legal marijuana in Alberta.

Normally, once a store's permit is approved, it has one year to actually open. The policy is meant to ensure storefronts are not left vacant for too long.

But city staff are recommending an exception in the case of cannabis stores due to circumstances outside the would-be weed sellers' control.

That's because the stores also require a licence from Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), but the provincial regulator suspended its application process in November due to a product shortage.


Sorry, BC and Ontario, Alberta is Canada’s new weed capital

It’s been five and a half months since Canada legalized recreational weed and, up until a recent trip to Alberta, I hadn’t been able to buy any in person. As a born and bred Vancouverite who now calls Toronto home, there's something that feels ironic about that.

When the federal government introduced the Cannabis Act in April 2017, it left retail rollouts up to the individual provinces and territories. For the most part, (with the notable exception of Quebec), the provinces have mirrored cannabis sales after their liquor retail models.


Legal cannabis: City eyes development permit extensions for budding cannabis retailers

Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis put a moratorium on cannabis store applications in November due to nationwide supply shortages of cannabis a little over a month after recreational pot became legal in October.

Applicants need a city-approved change of land use development permit before applying for a provincial licence, but those development permits also require a retailer to open for business within a year of approval.


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