Cannabis store - business licensing
A cannabis store displays or sells approved cannabis products like dried leaf, oils, edibles and topicals. These stores may also offer cannabis-related retail sales or rentals of merchandise promoting responsible use.
Rules and regulations
A development permit, building permit and business licence are required to start a cannabis store in Calgary. All businesses selling cannabis in Alberta must also obtain a retail cannabis licence from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). Please note The City of Calgary does not administer or process provincial applications.
Business owners must obtain all AGLC and City permits and licences prior to operating a cannabis store. The order of application doesn’t matter, however the AGLC will only issue a provincial licence after the applicant receives a development permit or business licence.
All cannabis offered for sale or sold must be sourced from a federally approved and licenced cannabis facility.
We may ask detailed questions about your proposed cannabis store plans to determine if additional development permits are required for exterior signs, location of doorways, renovations etc.
Enter your business address below to see if you can operate a cannabis business there.
The Land Use Bylaw requires separation distances to limit the sale of cannabis near schools, vacant school parcels, and other cannabis stores to manage potential environmental, social and aesthetic impacts; and to ensure opportunities for other businesses. Separation distances can be reduced, but for schools - only by 10%. Please review the Cannabis Store Guidelines in order to determine the separation rules. This document provides direction to The City when making decisions about reducing the separation distance.
The cannabis store locations map may be used as a tool to help determine separation distances.
Please refer to the table below to determine the allowable uses for each land use district.
A cannabis facility may be located in this district.
A cannabis store may be located in this district.
*Only when in conjunction with a cannabis facility.
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.
Cannabis businesses cannot allow customers to consume cannabis on site.
Land use and location
In Calgary, the store must be a single use. It cannot be combined with another use, such as a convenience store. However, cannabis stores can reside in a multi-tenant building or as part of a mixed-use development.
All businesses in Calgary require their site to have the appropriate land use allowing for the proposed business to operate. 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.
Please note: that cannabis stores are not permitted in residential land use districts. In all Districts except C-R2, C-R3 and CR20-C20/R20 districts, a cannabis store is not permitted beside a liquor store. Mobile cannabis stores are also not permitted.
- Cannabis stores must have at least four vehicle parking stalls per 100 square metres of usable floor area.
- One bicycle parking stall is required per 250 square metres of usable floor area. The bicycle parking stall requirement is Class 2, which means the stall(s) can be in an unsecured or uncontrolled area. Please see Part 4, Division 2, Section 160.3 of the Land Use Bylaw for more information.
Consider your required approvals
Here are some examples when a building permit may be required to open a cannabis store:
- The space has a new use
- e.g. a retail store changes to a restaurant
- You’re building an overnight storage room that complies with provincial cannabis licence rules
- Construction work includes structural or partition wall changes, mechanical, plumbing, gas or electrical work
- e.g. changing from car detailing to engine repair affects ventilation
- e.g. using a forklift indoors may require additional ventilation
- e.g. there is a change in kitchen or mechanical ventilation equipment or new equipment installed
- You are the first tenant in a space
- There’s a change to the occupant load
Inspections are part of the building permit process and are included in the permit price. Inspections help ensure safety and compliance with relevant bylaws and safety codes. Through the inspection process, City of Calgary safety codes officers ensure that project work meets minimum construction safety standards.
A City of Calgary business license is required to operate a cannabis store; please note it does not authorize the growing, producing, testing, destroying, warehousing, or distribution of cannabis.
A Cannabis Store business licence cannot be issued to a residential dwelling or any premises located in a residential land use district, and it cannot be used with a mobile business.
A municipal business licence will be issued when all required municipal approvals and fees have been obtained. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission requires either development permit approval or municipal business licence approval before issuing a provincial licence.
A municipal business licence will be issued when all required municipal approvals have been granted, fees have been paid, and inspections have been completed.
|Planning approval - development permit||Permit fee||Advertising fee||Total|
|Planning approval - development permit: Cannabis Store||Permit fee: $594||Advertising fee: $30||Total: $624|
See the planning applications fee calculator for the complete list of planning application fees. A development permit may not be required when taking over an existing approved and operating Cannabis Store.
|Building safety approval - building permit |
|Building safety approval - building permit : Cannabis Store||undefined: Please use the building permit fee calculator for commercial projects to estimate your fee. |
See the building permit fee schedule for a complete list of building permit application fees. A building permit may not be required when taking over an existing approved and operating Cannabis Store.
|Licence Type||Base Licence Fee||Fire Inspection Fee||Planning Approval Fee||Total|
|Licence Type: Cannabis Store||Base Licence Fee: $172||Fire Inspection Fee: $104||Planning Approval Fee: $41||Total: $317|
See the Business Licence Fee Schedule for the complete list of business licence fees. If your business requires multiple types, the highest fee will be charged.
How to apply
If you need help when completing your application Live Chat with us, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday to Friday.
We’re currently experiencing higher than seasonal application volumes, we apologize for delays. To check the status of your permit, go to vista.calgary.ca and enter in your Job Access Code (JAC) number.
Apply in person at the Planning Services Centre.