23 Oct Government-run cannabis would add $168 million to Alberta’s deficit

October 23, 2017 (Calgary) – Government-run cannabis retail stores would have start-up costs of at least $168 million, according to an analysis released by Alberta Party Caucus leader Greg Clark. Please see the analysis below.

“Our very conservative estimate shows the folly of creating a brand-new government bureaucracy to do something the private sector is better suited to,” said Clark. “And while the costs are substantial, our estimate doesn’t include ongoing administrative costs related to expanding Alberta’s bureaucracy to run the retail system.

“Alberta can’t afford another $168 million in debt, especially when there’s a better option.”

Clark said arguments that government stores are more secure doesn’t match the reality of Alberta’s private liquor distribution system.

“It’s frankly offensive for the NDP to suggest private retailers are more likely to sell to minors,” said Clark. “The AGLC reports that 98% of private licensees were in compliance, exceeding the AGLC’s own 95% target.

“Simply put, Alberta’s private liquor retailers are incredibly responsible, and cannabis retailers would be too.”

Private cannabis distribution is a significant opportunity for economic diversification, and is much more likely to undercut the black market than a one-size-fits all government distribution system.

“A private cannabis system will be more responsive to consumer demand, which, coupled with appropriate pricing, will eliminate the black market much more quickly,” said Clark. “Private investment is also needed to quickly ramp up the number of stores that will be required, something the government is unlikely to do.

“Alberta is different. We haven’t had a government retail model in 25 years. It will cost more and take longer to establish.  A government-run system would be a costly mistake.”

Cannabis Backgrounder can be found here.


For an interview please contact:

Natasha Soles
Director of Communications
Alberta Party Caucus
(780) 722-4733

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