On February 16, 2018, the Government of Alberta released supporting regulations to the Alberta Cannabis Framework
. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
(AGLC) announced it will start to accept applications for cannabis retailers on March 6, 2018. To view the news release, click here
The regulations outline who can own cannabis stores, where they can be located, rules for staff, safety and security requirements, and other operational details for private retailers. While the provincial regulations set the minimum set-back and location requirements for cannabis retail facilities, municipalities will have the ability to adjust some components to address local contexts.
The regulations include:
- Mandatory background checks for retail licence applicants.
- Mandatory training and background checks for all retail employees.
- One person, group or organization cannot hold more than 15 per cent of licences in Alberta.
- A 100-metre buffer between stores and schools or provincial health-care facilities. However, municipalities have the ability to adjust these buffer zones or add additional ones to best suit their communities’ needs
- Store hours set between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., the same as liquor stores, with municipalities able to adjust these hours.
- Mandatory security measures in stores.
To view the regulations in full, click here
In addition to being responsible for distributing cannabis retail licences, the AGLC will also be responsible for operating online sales of cannabis for the province, and the distribution, compliance and enforcement of the cannabis retail system. To find out more about AGLC’s retail licence application process, click here
Municipal Roles and Responsibilities
The Alberta Cannabis Secretariat has produced an up to date infographic
and Municipal Fact Sheet
that highlights the roles and responsibilities for various components of cannabis legalization. Some important components to cannabis legalization and the roles of municipalities are outlined below:
- Municipalities may use their existing authorities (i.e. bylaws) to place further restrictions on where cannabis may be consumed in public places within their jurisdiction;
- Municipalities will continue to have the authority to set the development rules for new cannabis developments in their existing land use bylaws, and to make decisions on development applications relating to cannabis retail locations.
- Municipalities will now also be responsible for ensuring their land use bylaws are consistent with Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Regulation requirements for cannabis retail locations.
- Municipalities will have discretion to vary certain rules to be either more or less restrictive than the regulations set by the province.
Retail Facility Approval Process
- In order to operate a retail sales facility, a proponent requires a license from the AGLC. One component of being approved the AGLC license is to have municipal approval for the operation of the retail facility.
- It is important to note that municipal and AGLC approval will not allow cannabis to legally be sold in a municipality until the federal Cannabis Act is implemented, likely later in 2018. The intent of pre-approving retail facilities at the municipal and provincial level is to ensure that facilities can be operational as soon as possible following the implementation of federal legislation.
- Municipalities should consider adjusting their land use bylaw to conform with or expand on provincial location and set-back requirements
- Municipalities will continue to be responsible for establishing land use bylaws and considering development applications related to cannabis production facilities.
- Municipalities will need to work with prospective producers and the federal government to determine how production facilities will be treated within their communities.
- When considering how cannabis production facilities in their jurisdictions should be classified under the Alberta Building Code, municipalities can contact Alberta Municipal Affairs for advice as needed.
Enforcement and Impaired Driving:
- Municipalities will be responsible for enforcing municipal guidelines and bylaws created within their jurisdiction (e.g. land use, public spaces, nuisance complaints, etc.). This includes areas where municipalities have created rules above and beyond minimum requirements set by the province.
- Municipal police forces will continue to be responsible for enforcing provincial and federal laws related to cannabis possession and consumption, as well as impaired driving and public safety.
To view more resources and AAMDC’s position and submissions on cannabis legalization, visit our Planning for Cannabis page by clicking here
Enquiries may be directed to:
Director, External Relations & Advocacy