Alberta and Manitoba have been the only provinces so far to announce that they will not be siding with a completely closed and government-run cannabis framework.
Ontario and Quebec, two of the most heavily populated provinces, have both decided to go with a government-owned model which will allow them full control of the market, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have much success on it.
In Alberta, recreational marijuana will be sold through privately owned stores, and there could be hundreds of them all across the province by July 1st.
Online sales and home delivery will be done by the government, which will rely on a single website to provide the whole province.
There is even legislation proposed in order to open cafe’s and lounges which will be dedicated to recreational smokers.
Meanwhile, in Ontario and Quebec, you won’t be able to get legal recreational cannabis without having to step into a government-run store similar to the LCBO.
Not only that, but Ontario plans to have only 40 of them across the whole province for the first year, with plans to have another 150 built over the course of 2 years.
Online sales will still be regulated by the provincial governments, which seems to have stricken a deal with Canopy Growth as their suppliers, at least to some extent.
Suppressing the black market
This has been pointed out to be one of the primary goals of the legalization as a whole.
All the steps taken so far have been taken in order to reduce the black market which has been ramping up over the course of the years.
Alberta plans on doing so by allowing everyone over 18 years of age to have access to cannabis.
Not only that but every person that is currently working on the black market selling cannabis will have an opportunity to go legit and become a cannabis entrepreneur.
Those currently selling gram-bags in Ontario and Quebec will be stuck in the eternal void of the black market unless they want to take up government jobs and sell weed in the name of Canada.
“From a business opportunity perspective, I think there is going to be a lot of attention given to Alberta from licensed producers and the cannabis market because we are seeing a lot of demand from this province,” said Alison McMahon CEO and founder of Cannabis at Work.
However, most importantly, Alberta has no sales tax, and the government says they will intentionally keep prices low in order to actively compete with the black market.
More cannabis users per capita
Even though Alberta is only the 4th biggest province by population, Alberta has the second highest number of medical marijuana users of all the provinces.
Ontario comes first which is normal given that Ontario has more than three times the population of Alberta.
According to Health Canada 86,000 users registered for medical cannabis were in Ontario, while over 74,000 were registered in Alberta, clearly showing a significant lead in patients per capita.
In fact that number indicates that Alberta has the most cannabis users per capita in all of Canada.
This is exactly why Alberta has a serious potential to be a leader in Canada’s cannabis industry. This and the fact that the province is right next to British Columbia which is known for its tasteful buds.