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Opening date of GP’s first cannabis store still hazy

Just when a pot shop will open up in Grande Prairie is still unclear. Earlier this month, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis said it had received 18 applications for stores in the city, but none were issued interim licences in order to be open on October 17th.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says all 17 locations that received those interim licences opened on legalization day, and it’s expected 100 licences will be issued by the end of the year. When any will be issued in Grande Prairie depends on how ready the retailers are and how backed up AGLC is.

“If everything’s approved at the local level then it’s usually taking about a week to get them approved and stocked up, in terms of their own lockups or their own storage and getting product to them,” Ceci explains.

Deputy Director of Protective Services for the City of Grande Prairie Chris Manuel has said the latest he’s heard from AGLC is that a local licence is likely three to four weeks away.

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In the meantime, people without a local retail store can still purchase marijuana online. While some products sold out on the first day, Ceci says the province is well stocked for now. However, it will be difficult to gauge demand after the initial excitement.

“In the short-term, we know that the supply is in good stead; it’s the medium-term the CEO of AGLC said is a little more challenging, but there are 15 licensed producers that are sending product to the warehouse – three of those are in Alberta – and we’ll just continue to monitor this as we go forward.”

Ceci stresses that the province is intent on keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, promoting public safety on roads and in public places and workspaces, and limiting the illegal market. He believes that’s being done through online sales.

“If people do use the online ordering system there has to be an adult at the door receiving either from Canada Post or Purolator when it comes to your door, so those things are verified both on the ordering side and on the delivery side.”

The province expects there to be up to 250 retail stores in Alberta within the first year of legalization.

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