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As cannabis legalization was considered in 2017-2018, the City of Edmonton was aware that there was significant interest to open a cannabis retail store within the city. To ensure that applications were received and reviewed in an orderly and efficient manner, the City used an alternative process to accept development permit applications for cannabis retail sales.

Expression of Interest

The City of Edmonton required applicants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in order to participate in the Random Selection Process. This process determined the order in which permits and licence applications were received and reviewed by the City. 

The City of Edmonton accepted Expressions of Interest from May 28, 2018 at 8am MST until 11:59pm MST on June 13, 2018, from applicants who want to open a Cannabis Retail Store.

The Expression of Interest period was scheduled to end one day after the third reading of Charter Bylaw 18387, which occurred on June 12, 2018. Early or late entries were not accepted.

There was no advantage to being the first to submit an Expression of Interest, so there was no need to rush, as long as it was submitted within the provided time frame.

The City’s intention was to provide a transparent, fair, unbiased and orderly process to allow as many business operators as possible to submit permits and licence applications. 

Interested operators who were unable to submit an Expression of Interest at this time will not be able to submit any permits or licence applications during this initial period of application acceptance and review. 

Depending on the volume of Expressions of Interest and applications submitted during the initial review period, the City anticipated that it would begin accepting future applications in late summer 2018 on a first-come, first-served basis. 

After this time, any applicant would be able to submit permits and licence applications at the Edmonton Service Centre on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Rules for Submitting an Expression of Interest
  1. Submissions received before or after the Expression of Interest period will not be entered into the Random Selection Process.
  2. One submission is required for each proposed location. 
  3. Only one submission will be accepted for each proposed location. 
    • If multiple submissions are received for a proposed location, all entries for this location will be disqualified.
  4. Incomplete submissions will not be entered into the Random Selection Process. 
  5. An Expression of Interest submitted for a location where the proposed zoning does not list Cannabis Retail Sales as a use will not qualify for the Random Selection Process, unless the City:
    • Has accepted a rezoning application to add the Cannabis Retail Sales use to a zone
    • Has received the required rezoning application fees
    • Has scheduled the rezoning application to advance to a City Council Land Use Public Hearing for a decision on or before June 25, 2018
  6. The applicant of the Expression of Interest must be the same person/corporation submitting the development permit application.
  7. You will be notified of your Random Selection Process submission number. 
  8. The results of the Expression of Interest and Random Selection Process only guarantees the applicant the order in which an application will be received and reviewed. It does not guarantee your location, any approvals, or when a decision will be made.
  9. The City of Edmonton assumes no responsibility or liability for email transmission failure or any other technical issue.
  10. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the City receives the Expression of Interest. 
How to Submit an Expression of Interest

Download the Expression of Interest form and fill it out completely. Make sure that you have the landowner’s permission and authorization to participate. You can also review this sample completed form. 

A completed Expression of Interest must be submitted to In-person submissions will not be accepted.

Random Selection Process 

The Random Selection Process determined the order in which permits and licence applications were submitted and reviewed by the City. 

This random selection process was conducted by an independent third party to ensure there was no bias or perception of bias.  It also helped ensure fairness and transparency in the process.

The Random Selection Process occurred on June 20, 2018.

The list of proposed locations and the order in which these applications will be submitted and reviewed was made publicly available, and each applicant will be notified.

The City of Edmonton used the results of the Random Selection Process to schedule an appointment for each applicant to come to the Edmonton Service Centre, 2nd floor, 10111 104 Avenue NW, to submit their applications for permits and licences.

Appointments started on June 25, 2018.

This ensured that the expected large number of applications were submitted in an orderly manner, without having the applicant to be in line longer than necessary. At a minimum, a development permit application had to be submitted at this time.

Regulatory Projects and Processes

City Project Stage

Zoning Bylaw Council Decision

The City of Edmonton advanced a proposed land use framework for cannabis retail stores to City Council on May 7, 2018. The amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800 were approved by City Council on June 12, 2018. The framework is based on:

  • Compliance with provincial regulations
  • Results of public engagement activities conducted in November and December 2017
  • Feedback from stakeholders on the first draft shared in February and March 2018
  • Providing opportunities across Edmonton for cannabis store locations

The amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800 included adding Cannabis Retail Sales as a permitted use to thirteen zones and adding separation distances for cannabis stores, along with other regulations, to Section 70.

Refer to Zoning Bylaw 12800 to check which zones allow cannabis stores and to review applicable regulations.

Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission Processes

Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) began accepting retail cannabis licence applications on March 6, 2018.

AGLC is accepting applications in order to conduct extensive mandatory background checks.

The background check process can begin prior to having municipal approval for a store location.

The City of Edmonton is not in a position to confirm potential cannabis store locations until a cannabis store application is submitted. 

City of Edmonton Cannabis Random Selection Draw

As part of the cannabis permit application process, the City of Edmonton video recorded the random selection draw that determined the order in which applicants will come to the City to apply for their permits, and the order in which applications will be reviewed.

MNP LLP., a large Canadian full-service chartered accountancy and business advisory firm, conducted the random selection draw on behalf of the City of Edmonton. 

How to Submit Your Application

Each applicant from the Random Selection Process was notified of their appointment to submit permits and/or licence applications. 

Each appointment was based on the specific location entered through the Expression of Interest. An applicant could not submit applications for a location that was different than the one listed in the Expression of Interest. 

A Development Permit application had to be submitted during this appointment. A Building Permit application and Business Licence application were optional.

Appointments began on June 25, 2018.

The City of Edmonton accepted a variety of payment options for permits and licence application fees:

  • Certified cheques (fastest and preferred method of payment)
  • Personal or corporate cheques
  • Bank draft
  • Cash
  • Interac Debit payments
  • Electronic Fund Transfer (recommended for more than $5000)

Missing Appointments/Missing Information

The City of Edmonton recognized that the order generated by the Random Selection Process that were used to determine which Development Permit applications were reviewed could have been crucial in determining which locations could be operating. 

The City recommended and encouraged that applicants participating in this process ensured they were able to attend their scheduled appointments and submit complete applications, because missing either could result in the loss of their place in the order.

If they couldn't make their appointment time, they could have sent an agent in their place. The agent had to provide written authorization from the entrant to act on their behalf. If the meeting needed to be rescheduled, they could email, or phone 780-442-7132, at least 3 days in advance of the meeting, to do so. Meetings could not be rescheduled to an earlier time. If they chose to reschedule, they forfeited their current Application Intake Order Number and was given a lower Application Intake Order Number for their appointment time.

During the Application Submission Period

If an applicant missed their appointment or submitted an incomplete application, then the applicant lost his/her place in the order until such time that a new appointment was made to submit the application or the applicant submitted the missing requested documents.


IF Application #33 submitted missing information on Day 5 to the Development Officer
IF Day 5 ended with application #100 being accepted
THEN Application #33 became Application #101
THEN Application #101 became Application #102, Application #102 became Application 103, etcetera

During the Application Review Period

If an applicant was notified that their application was missing information necessary to complete the technical review, then the applicant had five (5) business days to submit this information to the City of Edmonton. If this information wasn’t submitted within this period, the applicant lost his/her place in the order until such time that the missing information was provided.


IF Application #101 submitted missing information 8 days after it’s been requested
IF The Development Officer had just completed the technical review on application #149
THEN Application #101 became Application #150
THEN Application #150 became Application #151, Application #151 became Application #152, etcetera


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