Alberta Cannabis SLGA Permit & First Nations Cannabis Retailers

Cannabis retail store display

Cannabis retail store display

Alberta’s SLGA permit no longer applies to First Nations cannabis on-reserve retailers, due to a recent amendment from the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. 

But what does this represent, and what do the First Nations community and government officials think about how it will affect retail operations?

The First Nation’s community will have to establish its own regulatory framework in agreement with Alberta, and government officials are hopeful it will help create a level playing field.  In this article, we’ll explain what First Nation’s cannabis retail business owners need to do to set up a framework, and what their community and the Alberta government think of these amendments.

The First Nation’s Regulatory Framework:

The Alberta cannabis regulatory framework that the First Nations will have to create must be consistent with the federal/provincial legislation, as well as the cannabis authority, It must also have an agreement with the SLGA, according to the government.  After everything is approved, the First Nations-owned cannabis retail businesses can begin their operations.

After the cannabis framework is established, they’ll have access to federally regulated cannabis products to sell in their cannabis retail stores. 

 What do the First Nations think of the amendments?

Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation has been operating its own cannabis dispensary, Buds, and Blossoms Cannabis Co,. for three years.

Chief Ira McArthur said their dispensary, along with other First Nations-owned retailers, strives to meet or exceed the provincial standards for cannabis regulations, including product safety, testing, and packaging.

“For myself, I really don’t think it makes any difference. I don’t believe the province has the right or the jurisdiction to allow us to do anything on our First Nations,” McArthur said. He adds that all First Nation dispensaries follow the age limit and ID regulations in their shops.

Need help with your SLGA Permit or entering the retail market as a First Nations owner.

McArthur also said, “it has been a learning experience since opening the cannabis store, and regulations have changed as the years have passed. As with any new initiative you’re always learning. You’re always looking for ways to do it better, to do it safer, and to do it more efficiently.”

Alberta Government Officials on the Amendments:

According to a release from the Alberta government, provincial officials said they have “engaged with several First Nations on approaches to participate in the legal market, and this does not represent a change in the government’s approach to unlicensed stores.”

“A key component of an agreement with SLGA under this framework is that all businesses operating within the province will be subject to substantially the same set of rules governing their operations, establishing a level playing field for cannabis retailers across the province,” according to the statement.

“This represents a way forward that enables First Nations-owned businesses to fully participate in the economic opportunities of the cannabis retail market. First Nations that prefer to operate under the provincially regulated framework will continue to have that option.”

How can Cannabis License Experts help?

Cannabis License Experts offers support from day one of starting your Alberta cannabis retail business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, and much more. Our team is equipped with professionals who have extensive experience in the Cannabis, Pharmaceutical, Natural Health Products, Food, and Medical Device industries.

We leverage years of cannabis quality assurance, operational and cultivation knowledge with real-life hands-on experience. Working with an experienced consultant can help shave weeks, if not months, off the application process.

We know exactly what information needs to be submitted as part of the application package, and on top of that, we can provide guidance on facility construction, physical security requirements, good production practices (GPP), and more. When you pay for a consultant, you’re paying for their experience, and that will ultimately save you more time, money, and effort down the road.

How we can help you

At Cannabis License Experts, we provide you with the guidance to plan your cannabis business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate license for your operations. Reach out today to find out how we can help get you licensed faster!  To learn more about cannabis retail dispensary licensing in Canada check out this recent podcast, where our licensing expert answered cannabis dispensary licensing questions.

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