A Central Alberta cannabis expert favours a private retail model

Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders group has members across the province

An Alberta cannabis stakeholder group, that includes a Central Alberta member, wants to see a privately-run cannabis retail model in the province.

Wendy Konschuk, executive director at MedCan Solutions Inc. based out of Sylvan Lake said a private model gives Albertans an opportunity to own businesses. She said it will promote small business start-ups and entrepreneurship in the province.

“They can become owners and operators,” she said.

MedCan, a cannabis-based service company helps with patient advocacy, design and operation and compliance services.

The government of Alberta released a draft Alberta cannabis framework but the province hasn’t made any decisions on a private or a public model to sell cannabis once it’s legal in July 2018.

She said legalization of cannabis is an opportunity for the province to diversify — something we all need since the downturn in the economy.

Konschuk is a member of the Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders group that consists of about 20 cannabis related small business owners across the province.

She said the government needs to set standards like in the case of alcohol. For example, at the local level, municipalities often have legislation that mandate the proximity of liquor stores from schools.

“I think for retail, for recreational [purposes], the opportunities for entrepreneurship [in the cannabis industry] are huge,” she said.

The Ontario cannabis retail model — a province that favours a public retail model — has announced between 80 to 150 cannabis stores throughout the province.

“That, to me is going to restrict access which could potentially mean the black market could flourish,” she said.

Jason Kujath, Alberta Cannabis Stakeholders group spokesperson, said the costs for a public model for the province would be high and the money could be spent elsewhere — where it’s needed more.

Kujath, a former tax lawyer, based in Calgary, said the money could be used to make upgrades at the Red Deer Hospital, for example.

Kujath traded his former career to become the co-founder and president of Fifty First Parallel, an Alberta based company to become a licensed producer of cannabis.

Konschuk echoed Kujath’s thoughts. She said Sylvan Lake is in need of a new high school and an emergency care centre and the province could look at funding those projects instead.

Kujath said the “LCBO” model works for Ontario but for Alberta, a publicly-run cannabis retail model is reinventing the wheel which would come at a high cost.

Comparing Alberta’s AGLC and Ontario’s LCBO agencies, Kujath said the AGLC is an administrative oversight body, and not a retailer, unlike the LCBO.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Craig Schmitt placed first once again at Woody’s Marathon

When Craig Schmitt runs in the annual Woody’s RV Marathon in Red… Continue reading

Life and death: Mistake sent one family to funeral home, the other to hospital

Doctors told Jody Littlewolf that her daughter was brain dead and should… Continue reading

‘Still beautiful:’ Waterton Lakes National Park prepares for life after fire

WATERTON, Alta. — Parks Canada officials and businesses in Waterton say there… Continue reading

British royal family thanks those who celebrated wedding

LONDON — The royal family, blessed with fantastic weather and a buoyant… Continue reading

Cougar kills 1 mountain biker, injures 2nd near Seattle

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Two friends on a morning mountain bike ride… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

One dead in collision west of Sundre

A 30-year-old Cochrane resident is dead after a single vehicle collision in… Continue reading

How a 94-year-old retiree became a gym rat

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Like many gym rats, Paul Russell lifts weights… Continue reading

‘Like a warzone:’ People evacuated as fires burn through Manitoba city’s downtown

BRANDON, Man. — Leanne Marlow saw the flames engulf the building across… Continue reading

Canadians celebrate mix of pageantry, modern twists in royal wedding

As the freshly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex embark on married… Continue reading

Maduro favoured as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to win a… Continue reading

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humour

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled… Continue reading

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A veteran Sherpa guide who scaled Mount Everest for… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month