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Canadian Cannabis Retail Laws by Province

Cannabis retail laws in Canada by province 

The countdown to legal non-medical cannabis sales in Canada is officially underway, and citizens across the country are eagerly awaiting their opportunity to lawfully purchase and consume recreational cannabis for the first time.

Meanwhile, Canadian cannabis retailers are working diligently to have their operations up, running and compliant when the doors open on October 17.

Why Compliance Is Critical

If you’re coming into the retail cannabis space from a more traditional retail industry, you’ll find that there’s a lot of crossover as far as promotions, inventory and merchandising strategy. However, unlike most other retail industries, cannabis is highly regulated — which means compliance is going to be a huge part of your day-to-day operations.

It's absolutely critical to your non-medical cannabis retail operation to remain compliant with all applicable rules and regulations at all times. If a law enforcement or regulatory agency finds a compliance violation at your store, it could lead to penalties including fines, or even the revocation of your retail cannabis license altogether.

Compliance means more than just keeping tight inventory and making sure you report seed-to-sale data to the government. Store owners and managers also need to ensure that all compliance requirements — things like operating within legal hours, enforcing purchase limits and age restrictions, and even selling only approved merchandise — are adhered to every day.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of cannabis retail laws in Canada by province. As you begin to onboard your retail team members, it’s important that you give them a proper orientation into the cannabis space and impress upon them how critical compliance is to the company’s success.

What are the cannabis retail rules in Canada? Keep reading to find out. 

Cannabis Retail Rules by Province

Alberta

What can be sold: cannabis products (dried cannabis, cannabis oil, seeds) and cannabis accessories
Authorized hours of operation: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m., unless further restricted locally
Legal purchase age: 18
Purchase limits: 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent; customers may make more than one purchase per day, however, you may not complete a sales transaction if you believe it will cause the person to be in possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis

British Columbia

What can be sold: dried cannabis, cannabis oil, cannabis seeds, cannabis accessories (rolling papers, wraps, holders, pipes, waters pipes, bongs, vaporizers, etc.)
Authorized hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., unless further restricted locally
Legal purchase age: 19
Purchase limits: 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent; one gram of dried cannabis is equal to .25 grams of oil or one cannabis seed

Manitoba

Manitoba’s regulatory framework and licensing protocol are still under development, so details on operational hours, purchase limits and merchandise restrictions are unknown at this time. The legal purchase age in Manitoba is 18.

Newfoundland / Labrador

What can be sold: cannabis flowers, oils and capsules
Legal purchase age: 19
Purchase limits: 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent

Ontario

Thanks to the June election of Premier Doug Ford and the subsequent privatization of non-medical cannabis retail, Ontario’s regulatory structure is still under development. We do know that the legal purchase age will be 19, and the purchase limit is 30 grams of cannabis or the equivalent, in line with national lawful possession amounts.

Saskatchewan

What can be sold: fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils, non-flowering plants, seeds produced by a federally licensed producer, accessories (rolling papers/wraps, holders, pipes, water pipes, bongs and vaporizers); ancillary items (cannabis industry magazines, branded t-shirts/ashtrays, cannabis artwork, etc.)
Authorized hours of operation: 8am – 3am, unless further restricted locally. Retailers must be open at least six hours per day, five days per week.
Legal purchase age: 19
Purchase limits: 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent

Nationwide Rules and Caveats

Because Canada’s federal cannabis act doesn’t permit the commercial production of cannabis edibles, no retailers in any province are allowed to sell them. The federal government plans to regulate the retail sale of edibles within one year of legalization.

Additionally, you’ll want to check with your local municipal ordinances to ensure operational hours aren’t further restricted and to get specific signage requirements at your retail location. Most provinces don’t allow any medical, health or pharmaceutical references in your company name or branding, and some provinces and local jurisdictions have more detailed rules surrounding names and signs.

Opening a Cannabis Retail Store in Canada? Let’s Talk!

Here at Cova, we make cannabis retail software designed to simplify operations and help keep our fellow Canadian businesses compliant. If you’re looking to open and operate a cannabis retail operation in Canada, schedule a free demo with us to learn more about how we can help you.

LET'S TALK 

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