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Cannabis counselling business guide

A Development Permit and possibly a Building Permit are required to start a Cannabis Counselling business in Calgary. This guide walks applicants through the process to understand the requirements associated with these applications.

For cannabis counselling businesses, applicants are required to apply in person at the Planning Services CentreBook an appointment online to skip the line.

Business definition

Cannabis counselling businesses provide counselling on cannabis use by persons who are not medical professionals. Cannabis cannot be sold or consumed as part of a Cannabis Counselling land use. It may include a small amount of sale or rental of cannabis-related merchandise.

Development rules

Land use districts

All businesses in Calgary require their site to have the appropriate land use that allows for the proposed business use. Each space in a building has its own specified, approved use that cannot be changed without a development permit. Cannabis-related businesses can only operate within specific land uses.

The land use districts are those proposed by Council prior to final regulations being implemented by the Federal and Provincial governments. There is a possibility that these uses could change.

Enter your proposed business address to determine which types of canabis businesses may operate at your location.

District Use
  • I-G
A cannabis facility may be located in this district.
  • C-N1
  • C-N2
  • C-C1
  • C-C2
  • C-COR1
  • C-COR2
  • C-COR3
  • C-R1
  • C-R2
  • C-R3
  • I-G*
  • I-E
  • I-C
  • CC-X
  • CC-COR
  • CR20-C20/R20
  • CC-ET
  • CC-EIR
  • CC-EMU
  • CC-EPR
  • MU-1
  • MU-2
A cannabis store may be located in this district.

* Only when in conjunction with a cannabis facility.
  • C-N1
  • C-COR1
  • C-R2
  • I-C
  • CR20-C20/R20
  • CC-EPR
  • C-N2
  • C-COR2
  • C-R3
  • CC-MHX
  • CC-ET
  • MU-1
  • C-C1
  • C-COR3
  • I-B
  • CC-X
  • CC-EIR
  • MU-2
  • C-C2
  • C-O
  • I-E
  • CC-COR
  • CC-EMU
A cannabis counselling business may be located in this district.
Direct Control District (DC) A Direct Control District MAY NOT allow for cannabis businesses. Please contact the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 for more information and to get more information on cannabis uses in Direct Control Districts.
All other districts No cannabis related businesses may be located in this land use district. A land use redesignation would be required prior to applying for permits to open any cannabis business in this location.

Separation distance requirements

Must not be located within 300 metres of any other Cannabis Counselling use when measured from the closest point of a Cannabis Counselling use to the closest point of another Cannabis Counselling use, except C-R2 and C-R3.

Must not be located within 150.0 metres of a parcel that contains a School – Private or a School Authority – School use, when measured from the closest point of a Cannabis Counselling use to the closest point of a parcel that contains a School – Private or School Authority – School use.

Transition of Medical Marihuana Counselling Use​

Any development permit or Direct Control District that was approved as Medical Marihuana Counselling prior to the effective date of this Bylaw, is deemed to be the Cannabis Counselling use after the effective date of the Land Use Bylaw amendments for cannabis.

Additional rules

Cannabis Counselling uses must also adhere to the following municipal rules:

  • Requires a minimum of 4 motor vehicle parking stalls per 100 square metres of gross usable floor area
  • Does not require bicycle parking stalls – class 1, but requires a minimum of 1 bicycle parking stalls – class 2 per 250 square metres of gross usable floor area

Development permit

A development permit is required for all new Cannabis Counselling uses.

Each application is evaluated based on its planning merits. This type of application is a discretionary use and is subject to circulation, review, advertisement and possibly an appeal.

Note: File managers may ask applicants detailed questions about proposed plans to determine whether additional development permits would be required for exterior signs, location of doorways, renovations etc.

Building permit

A building permit may be required for cannabis counselling uses. The following are some examples of when a building permit might be required:

  • The space has a new use (e.g. a retail store changes to a restaurant).
  • Any construction is being done, including structural or partition wall changes, mechanical, plumbing, gas or electrical work.
  • The mechanical equipment needs to be upgraded to meet building code, due to a change in use (e.g. car detailing to engine repair affects ventilation rates; using a forklift in a warehouse may require additional ventilation).
  • You are the first tenant in a space.
  • There is a change in kitchen or mechanical ventilation equipment or new equipment being installed.
  • There is a change to the occupant load.

Building inspections

City inspections are part of the building permit process. They are intended to ensure safety and compliance with all relevant bylaws and safety codes. The City ensures that minimum construction safety standards are met. Inspections are part of the building permit process and are included in the permit price. Your premises cannot be occupied until your work has passed all required inspections.

Safety codes officers verify that your completed work meets safety standards and they can assist if you have encountered problems with your project. Having permits approved and completed can allow future buyers to verify that your work was inspected by The City.

Contractors should book and coordinate inspections directly with The City.

Business licencing

Cannabis counselling businesses do not require a business licence from The City.

Fire Prevention Bureau approval

All businesses must comply with the Alberta Fire Code. Most fire inspections are completed as part of the business licencing process. However, Cannabis counselling businesses since they do not require a business licence, should still ensure they adhere to the Alberta Fire Code. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Fire Prevention Bureau five business days prior to the ready-to-open date book an inspection.

This inspection should be performed by the Fire Prevention Bureau inspectors. This approval cannot be completed with an inspection done by the firefighting division, such as the occupancy inspection completed on your building permit.

Contact 311 to book your inspection. See the Fire Department Business Licence Checklist for inspection requirements.

Average timelines

The following summarizes the average times to complete each stage of the municipal approval process.

Development permit: 60 days average to decision, 21 days for advertising (does not include possible timeline extensions due to appeals). Applicants should familiarize themselves with the details on the development permit process​.
 

Fees

Applicants should consult the following fee schedules for specific costs:

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