Cannabis Regulations in Alberta

cannabis laws Alberta

With the Federal legalization of non-medical cannabis, the Province of Alberta has created legislation to provide for legal and controlled access to non-medical cannabis. For non-medical cannabis business owners, some specific guidelines and regulations must be followed in order to operate a non-medical cannabis business in Alberta.

Online Sales

When it comes to online recreational cannabis sales, there is currently only one legal source. The AGLC (Alberta Gaming Liquor & Cannabis) oversees the online sale of cannabis through, who is handling all of the legal online sales of recreational cannabis, ensuring that cannabis is not ordered or obtained by minors.

Retail Sales

Any retail applicants for non-medical cannabis business licences will be put through a mandatory background check. This extensive background check will also be conducted on all directors, shareholders and key employees, to avert criminal activity from operating within Alberta’s retail cannabis market.

If an applicant has a prior conviction involving illegal cannabis or has a criminal conviction for a violent offence will not be approved for a retail cannabis licence.

Application for licensing in Alberta

All recreational cannabis retailers in Alberta must have a retail cannabis licence in order to operate.

Background checks are mandatory for all applicants, any associates and those key employees of an applicant. The Retail Cannabis Store Handbook provides detailed information about the thorough personal and financial background checks that are completed.

In addition to the application fee, an initial deposit needs to be placed to cover the costs of background checks. An annual licencing fee also needs to be paid in order to keep the business active.

Before any retail cannabis licence can be issued, the AGLC must receive Municipal approval. Each Municipality may have different regulations related to retail cannabis licencing, zoning requirements and land-use restrictions. Cannabis retail stores cannot be located within 100 meters of a school, provincial health care facility or land designated as school reserve.

Retailers must follow specific guidelines for layout and security requirements, including having a point-of-sale area, secure storage area, alarm system, video surveillance, secure product display, and its own shipping and receiving area, separate from any other businesses.

The processing time for an application is anywhere from two to four months.

Federal government licensing and information

The Federal Government has created The Cannabis Act, allowing each Province and Territory to make determinations and set rules in their jurisdictions around how cannabis is sold, where stores can be located and how those stores are operated.

Individual Requirements for business owners

All licenced non-medical cannabis business owners have certain responsibilities that they must follow:

  • The licenced business must operate according to the legislation set out Federally, Provincially and Municipally.
  • An Operating Procedures form must be signed by all licence holders, indicating that they are aware of their legal requirements.
  • Make sure that all staff understand and operate in accordance the policies outlined through SellSafe training
  • Ensure a safe business site is maintained
  • Notify the AGLC of illegal activities related to cannabis

Licence Renewal

Annual licence renewal is required to keep the licence active. This renewal must be completed every year, and a renewal fee must be paid, regardless of any other requests happening at the same time, such as a transfer of ownership.

Incorporation Federal or Provincial

Non-medical cannabis businesses in Alberta can be incorporated either as an Alberta Incorporation or Federal Incorporation.

Alberta Incorporation

  • Alberta Incorporations are granted name protection for the exact business name registered within the Province of Alberta
  • 25% of the directors listed (or 1 in 4) must be either a Canadian citizen or resident
  • Annual return filing to keep the corporation active
  • Processing is on a 5, 3 or same-day basis
  • Assets are kept separate from business risks and liabilities to maintain personal liability protection
  • Cost on average range from $535.00 to $700

Incorporate in Alberta

Federal Incorporation

  • Incorporation provides the highest amount of name protection, outside of trademarking, throughout Canada
  • Unique business names are required in order to get name approval, as business names are reviewed and approved or declined by Federal examiners
  • Any use of acronyms or general wording are refused for the most part
  • Processing takes 1 to 2 business days
  • Assets are kept separate from business risks and liabilities to maintain personal liability protection
  • Cost on average range from $450.00 to $550.00

Incorporate Federally

Ontario Business Central has assisted thousands of clients each year to make their dream of self employment a reality. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
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Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.