Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan is calling on the NDP Government to begin issuing cannabis licenses and end the distribution monopoly by Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC).
Khan stated, “The NDP’s flawed cannabis policy is failing Albertans. They are stifling job creation and undermining efforts to end the criminal black market by refusing to issue more licenses. Alberta LIberals want the free market to resolve this problem.
The Alberta Cannabis Collective (ABCC) says this policy misstep could cost Alberta 1,800 jobs and cost retail applicants $13 million if the Government does not meet its stated goal of 250 stores opened by October. Currently, only 65 stores have been granted licenses. It is also driving Albertans to the illegal black market.”
52% of respondents are still buying their product illegally according to a Statistics Canada survey of cannabis users. 18% said it’s because of difficulty accessing the product legally. Experts in the industry have said that the moratorium on licences is an overreaction that is boosting the black market.
The NDP Government blames a lack of supply for the moratorium on licences. We believe Government mismanagement and bureaucratic red tape are the real reasons for this problem.
The Alberta Liberals are proposing a solution by easing restrictions on stores seeking supply. We suggest allowing them to purchase from licensed producers or distributors other than the AGLC.This includes boutique producers or distributors currently frozen out of the market.
Khan added, “The NDP Government wants the AGLC to be the sole distributor of cannabis to retailers for quality control purposes. That monopoly is clearly not working. It has contributed to an artificial supply shortage that is fueling the black market where there is no quality control at all.
“This NDP Government’s approach to cannabis is costing Alberta jobs and keeping the black market thriving. We strongly urge an immediate change of tactics and policies. Delaying solutions could do more damage.”