Expanded Sampling in Alberta Cannabis Reform

The TDR Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Cannabis Sampling Rules Relaxed: The AGLC in Alberta now allows for larger cannabis sample sizes with a limit of two samples per product annually, aiming to support product discovery while ensuring responsible use.
  2. Event Sales Authorization: Retailers in Alberta can obtain licenses to sell cannabis at adult-only events, broadening consumer access and market opportunities in specific environments.
  3. Streamlined Retailer Transactions: The removal of the 120-day wait for cannabis transfers in Alberta and permission for unlimited transactions between stores under the same owner simplifies inventory management and promotes industry collaboration.

Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) made significant updates to their Retail Cannabis Store Handbook and the Cannabis Representative Handbook this past week. 

Effective January 31, 2024. Cannabis retailers will notice amendments to rules governing cannabis sampling, sales between retail stores, and authorisations for selling cannabis at events. Additionally, storage protocols for cannabis products have been revised. 

These changes mark a notable shift in Alberta cannabis landscape, impacting how retailers operate and interact with customers. These changes signal a new era for cannabis regulation in Alberta.

One of the most significant changes introduced by the AGLC in Alberta  is the expansion of cannabis sampling allowances. Previously limited to products weighing 3.5 grams or less, retailers can now provide samples of larger package sizes, enhancing customers’ ability to explore a broader range of products. 

However, this newfound freedom comes with caveats, as retailers are restricted to offering each product sample at most twice per calendar year. This adjustment aims to balance promoting product exploration and ensuring responsible consumption practices within the community.

Furthermore, the Alberta mendments allow retailers to apply for a license extension to sell cannabis at adult-only events, such as trade shows and festivals. This change could significantly expand the market reach and consumer access for cannabis retailers, providing new opportunities for sales and marketing in environments tailored to adult consumers. 

Cannabis lawyer and legal expert Harrison Jordan from Substance Law, explained to me, “These regulatory changes represent new challenges and opportunities within this seismic shift in Alberta cannabis landscape, prompting retailers to adapt their strategies and operations to navigate the evolving regulatory framework effectively.”

Lastly,  the AGLC’s reforms address the complexities of cannabis sales between licensed retailers. By eliminating the 120-day waiting period for cannabis transfers and permitting unlimited product transfers between licensees under the same legal entity, the regulatory framework seeks to streamline inter-store transactions. 

This change facilitates smoother inventory management and fosters collaboration and innovation within the retail cannabis sector.Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.    

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