A handful of Alberta cannabis retailers launched online cannabis sales and delivery services March 8, when the province shut down its government-run operation and handed over those responsibilities to private-sector licensees.

Previously, the province’s only legal, non-medical online cannabis sales were available through a website run by government regulator Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC). But AGLC exited the online cannabis game on Tuesday, following amendments made to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.

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The changes were passed by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta last year and will help strengthen the legal cannabis market and diversify Alberta’s cannabis industry, according to an AGLC news release.

“Updating Alberta’s approach to online legal cannabis sales gives Albertans more choices, provides retailers new revenue opportunities and encourages industry innovation and diversification,” AGLC CEO Kandice Machado said in the release. “AGLC will continue to prioritize health and safety for Albertans and ensure all online cannabis retailers meet federal and provincial cannabis legislated requirements and regulations.”

AGLC generated roughly CA$200,000 per year in government revenue through the website’s cannabis sales (now inactive).

Home of Canada’s second-largest cannabis market (after Ontario), Alberta raked in CA $716.7 million in 2021 sales, according to federal data agency Statistics Canada

Through the transition of online sales, Albertans can continue to have confidence that licensed retailers will offer legal, high-quality products to cannabis consumers, according to the AGLC release.

Taking advantage of new online sales opportunities on opening day were 80 retail locations among more than 750 throughout the province. Those 80 locations fall under 10 licensee names, including High Tide, which now has online capabilities at 41 of its 58 Canna Cabana stores in Alberta, according to an AGLC cannabis licensee search.

In addition, Four20 Premium Market had 29 locations offering online sales as of March 8, while Mind-Full, Lake City Cannabis, The Peak Cannabis Co., Daikoku, Canna Corp., Twenty Four Karats, Moderna Cannabis Society and Upstairs Cannabis were the other licensees to launch on opening day.

To offer online cannabis sales in Alberta, licensed cannabis retailers must operate a physical store and receive an endorsement to their license from AGLC.

All licensed cannabis retailers offering online sales in Alberta must include CannabisSense content, which features information on how Albertans can identify legal cannabis products and illegal sites, as well as cannabis-related health and safety concerns.

According to AGLC, retailers have access to more than 2,000 unique cannabis products on the Alberta market.