Council approves rules for legalized cannabis in Calgary

Today, Council approved bylaw amendments that will facilitate the future retail sale and limit consumption of legalized cannabis in Calgary.

At this time, non-medical cannabis sale and possession remains illegal. Licences and permits for retail operations will not be issued until cannabis is legalized by the federal government. The exact date is yet to be confirmed, however the federal government has indicated it is still working towards summer, 2018.

Public consumption

In Calgary, public consumption rules for cannabis will be similar to those for public consumption of alcohol. Under the new Cannabis Consumption Bylaw, consumption of non-medical cannabis in any form (smoking, vaping, or edibles) will be prohibited in public places.

An exemption will apply for medical cannabis, which may be smoked or vaped in the same areas that are currently allowed under the Smoking Bylaw. A proposal to allow for the possibility of dedicated consumption areas at festivals and events will not go forward as proposed; Administration will research this matter further and will bring the matter back to Committee in the coming months.

Calgary’s rule of preventing public consumption of cannabis aligns with the best practices of other North American jurisdictions. Public consumption is prohibited in all nine American states where cannabis is legal, including Colorado, California, and Nevada.

Cannabis businesses

Council has approved a new definition for cannabis retailing in the Land Use Bylaw. This new use is called Cannabis Store and is similar to the approach used for liquor stores, with unique rules and guidelines. Cannabis Stores will be managed through a discretionary development permit process, including provisions for notice posting and opportunity for appeals.

Detailed information on the approved land uses, permits and application requirements for Cannabis Stores will be available online as soon as possible.

The City will begin to accept applications for Cannabis Stores on Tuesday, April 24 at 8 a.m. MT. An online intake for a Cannabis Store can be accessed through your myCity account.

To answer the number of questions businesses will have to get ready to apply, The City will be hosting a live Q&A to explain the intake process for processing Cannabis Store applications on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 10 a.m. MT. The live feed can be found at

“We believe that the decisions that Council has made regarding cannabis strike a mindful balance between citizen feedback, best practices of other jurisdictions and practical considerations based on existing bylaws,” says Matt Zabloski, lead for The City’s cannabis legalization project.

In late 2016, The City of Calgary began an extensive process to research, develop and propose regulations around cannabis that would contribute to the well-being and quality of life for all Calgarians. The approved bylaws have been tailored to best suit our community while still working within the federal legislation and the provincial laws.

For more information on cannabis legalization in Calgary, visit