Alberta Dispensary Laws

Dispensary Laws and Regulations for Alberta Retailers

As Alberta prepares for the regulated non-medical cannabis market, a provincial framework is already being established. Alberta will model much of its cannabis dispensary laws around current alcohol and tobacco regulation.

 Oversight, distribution, and retail licensing will be carried out by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). Brick-and-mortar retail stores will be run by private operators while the government will operate online cannabis sales. Private retailers will only be permitted to sell cannabis and cannabis accessories approved by the AGLC; cannabis retailers will not be allowed to sell alcohol or tobacco from the same location.

 The minimum age for purchase of cannabis is set at 18, which is consistent with the minimum age for alcohol and tobacco purchase.

 We’ve compiled available answers to Alberta dispensary laws FAQs below, and we’ll keep this page updated regularly as more information is released. Be sure to check out our Canada dispensary laws page for information about regulations in other states

CANNABIS RETAIL LICENSING

Looking to launch a cannabis retail operation in Alberta? Here’s everything you need to know about the licensing process

WHAT KIND OF RETAIL LOCATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED?

Albertans will be able to purchase non-medical cannabis at privately operated physical retail stores as well as through publicly operated online stores.



WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR CANNABIS RETAIL PERMITTING IN ALBERTA?

The Due Diligence Unit of the AGLC will be in charge of processing retail cannabis applications in Alberta. To apply, the corporate entity applying for a retail license must complete the Applicant Disclosure Form and have an ownership interest of 10% or more of the applying retail cannabis store. Any investors with 10% or more ownership are required to complete the Associated Applicant Disclosure Form.

Key applicants must undergo thorough and extensive personal and financial background checks, conducted by the AGLC. Those who exercise influence or control over day-to-day operations of the business, have decision-making power, can hire and/or fire employees all must undergo background checks.

You can view the full official AGLC Retail Cannabis Application online.  



DOES AN APPLICANT NEED MUNICIPAL APPROVAL BEFORE RECEIVING A RETAIL CANNABIS LICENSE?

Yes, municipal approval is required before the AGLC will issue a retail cannabis license. Applicants should get in touch with their intended municipality to find out requirements regarding municipal retail cannabis laws, zoning requirements, land-use restrictions, and location requirements regarding how close a retail store can be to a provincial health care facility, school, or parcel of land designated as a school reserve.



ARE THERE ANY BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS WHEN APPLYING FOR A CANNABIS LICENSE IN ALBERTA?

All retail cannabis businesses must be incorporated or extra-provincially registered in Alberta. The business must be separate from any other business, solely operate for the purpose of retail cannabis, and have a signed lease or certificate of title.



ARE THERE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH THE ALBERTA APPLICATION PROCESS?

A $400 non-refundable application fee is due for each store location at the time of submission; a $700 annual license fee; and $3,000 initial deposit to cover the cost of background checks and additional costs of due diligence (the AGLC will refund any part of the $3,000 that is unused).



HOW LONG WILL THE APPLICATION AND PERMITTING PROCESS TAKE?

According to the AGLC, the licensing process will take approximately two to four months.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ALBERTA’S RETAIL CANNABIS LICENSING PROCESS?

You can find extensive information, forms, and fees regarding Alberta’s cannabis licensing here.



CANNABIS RETAIL SALES

Remaining compliant with federal and provincial regulations will be critical. Learn the details of Alberta’s cannabis retail law here.

WHERE CAN RETAIL CANNABIS STORES BUY WHOLESALE CANNABIS INVENTORY?

All retailers must purchase wholesale inventory directly from the AGLC.



Will online cannabis sales be authorized?

Yes; online cannabis sales will be run by the government.

What is the minimum age of purchase for retail cannabis?

Alberta has set the minimum age at 18, which is consistent with the purchase and consumption age for alcohol and tobacco

 

WHAT ARE THE PURCHASE LIMITS FOR RETAIL CUSTOMERS?

Alberta allows adults to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, a limit that is in line with the federal government’s possession limit. However, individual provinces may restrict daily purchase limits.

 

WHAT HOURS WILL CANNABIS RETAILERS BE ABLE TO OPERATE?

Just like liquor stores, cannabis retailers may be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

CAN CANNABIS RETAILERS SELL ANYTHING OTHER THAN CANNABIS?

All cannabis accessories must be approved for sale by the AGLC first.

CANNABIS TRACKING AND REPORTING

Cannabis tracking and reporting helps the government prevent diversion into the black market. Get the facts here.

What is required of cannabis retailers with regard to tracking and reporting?

The proposed Cannabis Act authorizes the Minister to establish a national cannabis tracking system and to require licensed operators to report all cannabis activity.

The AGLC recently released a comprehensive list of requirements for retail cannabis, including requirements for tracking. Retailers must track both the AGLC number and lot number, method of payment, and date and time for every transaction. This must be reported to the AGLC in the accepted format by midnight on the seventh day of every calendar month. Inventory audits are required on a monthly basis and discrepancies must be reported to the AGLC. All of this data must be backed up, stored, and made available to law enforcement if requested.

Frequently askeDOES COVA POS MEET ALL THE AGLC’S REQUIREMENTS?d question

Yes; our team at Cova has carefully reviewed Alberta’s tracking and reporting requirements and our cannabis-specific retail point of sale software meets every one. Not only will it make it easier for dispensary owners and managers to remain compliant, it will go above and beyond with features that can help optimize and grow the business. Please read more about How Cova POS Addresses Alberta's Compliance and Reporting Requirements here.

 



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