Alberta Premier Has Mixed Feelings on Legalization

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she’s conflicted on the Liberal government’s promise to legalize cannabis. 

“There are arguments on either side that are compelling,” said Notley. “You know, there’s sort of the comparison of marijuana to alcohol. But there’s also the issue of the impact that it has on young people and its contribution to addictive behaviour and all that stuff.”

Notley said she hasn’t looked at the positives and negatives of different regulation options.

Liberal Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr promised the government would be moving “relatively quickly” on cannabis legalization.

“We’re going to be working on this aggressively,” Hehr said. “Legalizing it makes it a regulated product, make it controlled, gets criminals out of the business … and as an added bonus, the government can raise a little revenue.”

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said her government is waiting for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to begin the process of legalization before the province takes action.

“Our hope would be that if they are going to make a change like that, that they’re going to give us enough lead time that any regulations we need to develop will be able to be developed,” said Ganley.

University of Calgary law professor Michael Nesbitt said it could be a “very complicated” process toward legalization that will require a high level of collaboration between a number of agencies at the provincial and federal level.

“My guess is that some of the provinces are not going to like this because they’re not going to like going through the process — and they’re not going to want to come to one agreement with all the other provinces about how it should be done,” said Nesbitt. “Having said that, a big point of interest for them, obviously, will be tax revenue.”