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Cannabis business rules and process changes


While recreational cannabis was legalized for sale on October 17, 2018, there will continue to be ongoing edits, changes and new regulations being implemented related to the sale and production/processing of cannabis.

This page is intended to provide updates for active or future cannabis-related businesses to get information on any proposed changes to regulations or updates on current regulations.

Cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals

Currently, the sale of commercially-made cannabis edibles, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals remains prohibited. The Government of Canada has indicated that they will be permitted for legal sale by October 17, 2019.

At this time, it is not yet known how these products will be regulated in Calgary. Our regulations around cannabis edibles will be informed by both the federal and provincial rules which will be determined in the coming months. The City of Calgary will provide information as details are confirmed.

Temporary suspension of Provincial licencing

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) made the decision to temporarily suspend accepting applications and have curtailed issuing additional cannab​is retail licenses in Alberta.

Currently The City of Calgary requires a change of use discretionary development permit when a Cannabis store is proposed in an existing building. The City’s Land Use Bylaw requires a change of use development permit to commence within one year of the date of approval of the development permit. If the business does not commence their operation (selling Cannabis) within one year, the development permit lapses and a new development permit is required. There is currently no opportunity to extend the commencement date for these development permits.

 As a result, some customers who have received an approved development permit from the City may not be licensed from the Province and will be unable to open their store before their development permit lapses.

To address this issue the City is proposing the following Land Use Bylaw amendments:

  • An extension on the commencement date may be granted solely for the purpose of accommodating the provincial cannabis license moratorium
  • Only one extension may be granted
  • The extension may be up to one year
  • The request is made in writing on a form approved by the City
  • The request is granted prior to the development permit lapsing

These changes will be presented at the 2019 April 03 Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development​. Following this meeting, a public hearing will be held where Council will review the proposed amendments and either approve, refuse, or make changes to the proposed Land Use Bylaw amendments. The anticipated date for this public hearing is April 29, 2019.

Additional options for customers

The City of Calgary has also identified an option to allow for interim uses, which will help support businesses until the AGLC begins issuing Provincial licenses. Customers with an approved Cannabis Store DP who have not yet received their AGLC licence should speak to their file manager about options for operating under a non-cannabis store use in the interim.

A City of Calgary Business Licence​ (cannabis store category) is required for the Cannabis Store use to remain in the AGLC licensing queue, this means that you must have a current City cannabis store business licence to be considered by the AGLC for a Provincial license. A second municipal Business Licence for this approved use is required, however will only be required until the Cannabis Store use has commenced.​

To learn more about what may be allowed at your location as an interim use, and the process that is needed​, please speak with the file manager for your Cannabis Store application.

Details on interim uses

Customers may be able to either:

  1. Continue to operate the existing approved use in the store location; or
  2. Apply for a development permit for a new use in the store location.

It is important to note the following when considering an interim use in a location with a released Cannabis Store development permit:

  • The Cannabis Store must not have a cancelled permit. 
  • The permit must not have lapsed (it is not past the ‘must commence by’ date).
  • The AGLC will require that this use must cease before commencing your Cannabis Store use. Please discuss the requirements with the AGLC.
  • The City also requires that this approved use must cease before commencing your Cannabis Store.

A City of Calgary Business Licence (cannabis store category) is required for the Cannabis Store use to remain in the AGLC licensing queue. Therefore, the customer must apply for two City Business Licence categories: one for the interim use they plan to operate, and one for the Cannabis Store City Business Licence.​​​​​​​

Frequently asked questions

Does applying for an interim use affect a customer's ability to obtain their AGLC for cannabis store licensing?

To remain in the AGLC queue for Provincial Licensing it is important that customers apply for a municipal Business Licence for the Cannabis Store use. A municipal Business Licence is also required for any interim uses that will operate on the site.

What is the process for applying for a change of use (online? In-person)?

A Change of Use application must be submitted in-person at the 3rd floor counter in the Municipal Building at 800 Macleod Trail SE. If the use is a Perm​itted Use and meets all the bylaw rules in the location’s Land Use District, the Change of Use application should be released in five (5) business days. If the use is a Discretionary Use in the Land Use District, the approval could take up to 60 days for approval. To talk to a Planning and Development representative before making your application, call 403-268-5311.​

How much does it cost to apply for a Change of Use development permit?

The Change of Use development permit application fee depends on the use that is proposed. If a new interim use proposed is a Permitted Use and meets all the bylaw rules in the Land Use District​ that applies to the location the application fee is $120. If the use proposed is a Discretionary Use, the application fee is $657.

Can I continue to sell non-cannabis related merchandise after I receive my AGLC licence?

No. It is important to note that any non-cannabis related activities taking place in the space cannot continue after AGLC licensing. The City requires that this approved use must cease before commencing your Cannabis Store.

In addition, these activities may be required to be removed from the premises prior to the final inspection by the AGLC. Please confirm with the AGLC their requirements for licensing.​​​​​​​​​


Brandy MacInnis
Senior Planning and Policy Strategist | Planning and Development