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Current Legal Situation

Right now, it is only legal to use cannabis if you have a medical prescription. Selling cannabis for non-medicinal purposes is still illegal.

The Federal government has passed Bill C-45 to legalize cannabis for sale and/or consumption for non-medicinal purposes. It will only be legal to sell or consume cannabis for non-medicinal purposes after Wednesday October 17, 2018. 

Opening a Retail Store

The Random Selection Process occurred on June 20, 2018. The list of proposed locations and the order to accept applications is now publicly available. Applicants will be notified of their individual appointment time.

Interested operators who were unable to participate in this process will not be able to submit permits or licence applications during this intial period of submission and review. The City anticipates that it will begin accepting future applications at the Edmonton Service Centre on a first-come, first-serve basis in late-Summer, early-Fall 2018.  

Opening a Cannabis Retail Store

Applicants who have participated in the Random Selection Process can review the application process for opening a cannabis retail store.

Commercial Grow and Processing Operations

Zoning Regulations

The City has classified Cannabis Production and Distribution as a General industrial Use (definition, regulation) within the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw 12800. The General Industrial Use classification is restricted to areas zoned industrial and is not permitted in commercially-zoned locations.

The following industrial zones include the General Industrial Use class. Land that is zoned one of the below zones may allow for a cannabis production facility that complies with Zoning Bylaw regulations and receives a federal licence.

  • IB - Industrial Business Zone
  • IL - Light Industrial Zone
  • IM - Medium Industrial Zone
  • IH - Heavy Industrial Zone
  • EIB - Ellerslie Industrial Business Zone
  • EIM - Ellerslie Medium Industrial Zone
  • EETL - Edmonton Energy and Technology Logistics Zone
  • EETM - Edmonton Energy and Technology Park Manufacturing Zone
  • MA, MA1, MA2, MA3 - Municipal Airport Zones
Development and Building Permit Requirements

When you find a potential location for a cannabis production and distribution facility, you can visit the Edmonton maps website to check the zoning of the site.

To apply for a Development Permit, you will need to ensure you provide a complete application.

Commercial Development Permit Application Form

Commercial Industrial Checklist

The Development Officer reviewing your application may require the following additional items:

  1. Environmental Nuisance and Health Impacts Assessment (Section 14.5)
  2. Assessment of Risk of Industrial Activities (Section 14.6)

Note: Applications should also comply with the General Performance Standards when designing screening/security features for the site (Section 57 and Section 58).

Licensing Requirements

Under the proposed Federal Cannabis Act, all producers of cannabis or cannabis products will need to be federally licensed to operate. The Government of Canada will establish application processes and criteria for people who want to become producers of legal recreational cannabis.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations

The federal government currently regulates licensed producers of medical cannabis through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Find more information about cannabis for medical purposes on the Government of Canada website.


In summer 2018, cannabis is proposed to be legalized across Canada. Cannabis refers to products made from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.


In April 2017 the federal government introduced a bill to legalize recreational cannabis by summer 2018. The federal bill creates a strict legal framework to control how cannabis is produced, distributed and sold. The federal bill also defines the legal age and possession amount for cannabis.

Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on the federal legalization and regulation of cannabis.

In February 2018, the provincial government released legislation and regulations regarding cannabis legalization. Visit the Government of Alberta website to read the Alberta Cannabis Framework.

Bylaws Specific to Cannabis

Before the legalization of cannabis, the City of Edmonton will make amendments to the Zoning Bylaw 12800, Business Licence Bylaw 13138 and the Public Places Bylaw 14614.

Past Bylaw Amendments

The City of Edmonton has taken proactive measures to prepare for the legalization of cannabis. In June 2017 City Council approved amendments to the Zoning Bylaw that:

  • Created a definition and use class for Cannabis Retail Sales to separate cannabis stores from other retail stores
  • Clarified which existing definitions in the Zoning Bylaw do not include the production, sale or consumption of cannabis

Read more about the first stage of Zoning Bylaw amendments.

Regulatory Projects and Processes

City Project Stage

Project Timeline - Proposed Amendment Stage

This project is currently at the proposed amendment stage.

The City of Edmonton advanced a proposed land use framework for cannabis retail stores to City Council. The proposed framework is based on:

  • Compliance with recently released 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 draft zoning was presented to City Council Public Hearing on May 7, 2018. Please note:

  • The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (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 before municipal approval for a store location
  • The City is not yet accepting cannabis store applications
  • The City will let stakeholders know when cannabis store applications can be submitted

Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission Processes

The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (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 as separation distances and proposed zones are in a draft state and must be approved by City Council.

For More Information




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