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Public consumption of medical cannabis

Calgary’s Cannabis Consumption Bylaw prohibits the consumption of recreational cannabis in any form (smoking, vaping, or edibles) in public places.

However, medical cannabis is exempt from the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw.

Smoking or vaping of medical cannabis is permitted in any public place that is allowed under both Calgary’s Smoking and Vaping Bylaw and Alberta’s Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.

Consumption methods other than smoking or vaping of medically prescribed cannabis is allowed in all public settings. This includes edibles, caplets, tinctures or sprays, or the application of oils or creams.

Upon request, medical cannabis users must present proof to police officers that the cannabis is medical. (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations).

Under the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw, City of Calgary bylaw officers and peace officers may also request documentation.

Public smoking or vaping of medical cannabis

The Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary both handle regulations on where medical cannabis may be consumed. Smoking or vaping of medical cannabis is permitted in any public place that is allowed under both Calgary’s Smoking and Vaping Bylaw and section 3 of Alberta’s Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.

The City of Calgary’s rules on where medical cannabis is prohibited are found in section 3 of the Smoking and Vaping Bylaw, which states:

A person must not smoke or vape:
  • (a) in a public premises*, a workplace or a public vehicle;in a public premises*, a workplace or a public vehicle;
  • (b) in, on or within 5 metres of a:
    • (i) outdoor pool;
    • (ii) outdoor skating rink;
    • (iii) playground;
    • (iv) skate park;
    • (v) sports field; or
    • (vi) transit property;
    • to which the public has access as of right or by express or implied invitation;
  • (c) within 5 metres of an entrance or exit to a public premises*; or
  • (d) in Olympic Plaza.

*Note: ‘public premises’ means an enclosed area such as a mall or restaurant to which members of the public have access.

The Government of Alberta’s rules on where medical cannabis is prohibited is also defined in the Alberta Cannabis Framework.

Generally, the municipal and provincial rules are aligned. However, consumers of medical cannabis are encouraged to review both to ensure they are aware of all areas in which smoking or vaping may be prohibited.