Online pot shopping will require double ID check in Alberta


Marijuana legalization in Canada is quickly approaching and the Alberta government has released more information about the process by which people in the province will be able to buy pot online.

The government’s cannabis website will be the only legal outlet for Albertans to purchase pot online once the product is legalized this fall.

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In hopes of keeping weed out of the hands of people under the age of 18, a strict process to ensure buyers are at least 18 has been put in place — and IDs will be checked at least twice, according to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen said public consultations done by the government last year showed preventing youth from buying and accessing weed was a major priority.

“Through the online sales, age verification will happen during the initial online sale… and at the time of delivery,” she said.

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Once the website goes live on Oct. 17, those who want to buy marijuana will be asked to set up a profile.

“It’s fairly quick and simple, however, it does require some information to ensure that the person that is purchasing the product is indeed someone who is legally permitted to purchase,” Holmen said.

Personal information including name, date of birth and address will be collected. A quick background check will be done to verify the purchaser’s ID.

Holmen said the process is similar to the way Service Alberta does online vehicle registration renewals.

“If the system is not able to verify the age or the person, the user can then upload federal or provincial identification,” Holmen said.

“And if for some reason someone is not able to verify who they are through that means, the system would then generate a bar code that the consumer could take to their closest Canada Post outlet and what would happen is an agent would verify that the person is who they are from photo identification.”

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Cannabis packages will be unmarked, and the Canada Post agent who does the delivery will be alerted to ask for ID upon drop-off.

If the person who purchased the product is not home, packages will not be left in mailboxes, at the door or with other people who live in the home. Instead, a notice will be left for the person to go to their nearest Canada Post centre to pick up their pot. ID will be requested upon pickup, Holmen explained.

“When the package arrives it’s unmarked so it does not have any branding that says it’s a cannabis product that’s been ordered online, so it’s very much kept in confidence,” she said.

“But the courier is cued to check for age verification and also to make sure it’s going into the hands of the person that purchased it.”

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All non-government-run online sales of cannabis will be illegal. It’s not known what type of demand the website might see come Oct. 17.

“It’s hard to speculate. I think everybody is interested to see what the demand is going to be like but I think right and now all we can do is just wait and see,” Holmen said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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