A new law just quietly went into effect in Alberta while you weren't looking. On June 17, 2020, the law regarding drinking in Alberta parks and picnic areas officially came into force. The law and its amendments allow you to drink in parks, though there is some serious red tape that makes it a little less casual than it sounds. 

The law initially passed First Reading in the Alberta Legislature back in February 2020. But it wasn't until this June that it was given the final stamp of approval: the Royal Assent. 

Bill 2 under the Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Amendment Act deals with a lot of liquor-related provisions and licensing.

Among the changes that have been proposed under this Bill include the permission to drink in Alberta parks and picnic areas. 

Here's what you need to know.

Drinking in parks is allowed so long as the owner of the park gives their permission.

This doesn't just apply to public parks; it would hold for municipal parks, privately-owned and operated parks, and picnic areas in provincial parks and recreational zones. 

Beyond giving permission, the owner must also place a sign up at the park, notifying visitors of the rule. 

The bill says that the sign must state that people can consume liquor in the park, set out the "designated" picnic area, and add the hours during which the liquor must be consumed. 

So basically, if you don't see a sign you better not crack that bottle. 

Previously, the picnic sites in Alberta that did allow drinking had to require visitors to pair it up with food. But the new rules removed the food requirement and now allow people to booze as is. 

But you do have to be careful. If a cop or peace officer deems that you've gotten "intoxicated," you must stop drinking at the park right away. 

Minister Grant Hunter discussed the law in the Third Reading in the Legislature. "This piece of legislation is being introduced so that Albertans can enjoy their parks," he said.

"They love their public parks, in fact, and they are, in this time
of COVID-19, in this time of the pandemic, flocking to their parks, to our parks, in record numbers," the Minister added. 

Minister Hunter also mentioned that the law would encourage Albertans to get out there and enjoy their parks even more. 

Bill 2 also made it official to include liquor prizes in raffles and streamlined the process for people and businesses to get licenses to sell liquor. 

So if you're curious how you can go out and start drinking in parks, you need to keep your eyes open for signs at your local parks. 

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