Alberta weighs legal changes for marijuana vape market

Findings from Alberta’s smoking law review could lead to legislative or regulatory changes involving cannabis vaping – though the analysis is not specifically aimed at cannabis – the Treasury Board and Finance ministry told Marijuana Business Daily.

The review, which started in October, is being conducted because Alberta’s current legislation does not address vaping or “tobacco-like” products.

It is expected to be completed by the end of the year so potential amendments can be considered in 2020.

A legal change involving marijuana vaping products would have implications for any of the province’s 354 authorized cannabis providers looking to capitalize, or even specialize in, the newly regulated product category.

Press secretary Jerrica Goodwin said the ministry is paying close attention to developments in confirmed cases of vaping-related illnesses.

Alberta has no confirmed cases of such illnesses, while 13 instances have been reported across Canada as of Dec. 3.

“We’re monitoring closely in conjunction with other provinces and the national public health agency. This evidence-based information may inform changes to legislation and regulations around cannabis vaping,” Goodwin said.

“With the legalization of additional cannabis products this fall, we are paying close attention to the Tobacco Act review; in particular, to any findings around vaping to ensure regulations are balanced and protect the health and safety of Albertans.”

Legislation and regulation of Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis is within the purview of the Treasury Board and Finance ministry.

The review of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act is being led by the Health ministry.

Any potential legal changes regarding cannabis vaping would be a joint function of the Health and Finance ministries.

Cannabis 2.0 products – edibles, extracts and topical cannabis products – will be available in limited supplies this month, with a wider rollout taking place in the new year.

Some provinces are moving to restrict access to cannabis vapes, citing health concerns.

Regulators in Quebec and Newfoundland have announced plans to ban cannabis vape products in their respective provinces.

British Columbia plans to increase its sales tax to 20% on retail sales of legal oil and dried flower vapes.

Manitoba is banning consumption of cannabis-infused products in public spaces.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected]

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