Cannabis Legalization

Cannabis became legal across Canada on October 17, 2018. The City has updated its bylaws, policies and processes to respond to these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is a product made from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. It is sometimes called marijuana or pot, and it can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, eating it in food, drinking, dabbing, putting drops under the tongue, or applying it directly to the skin in a lotion. As of October 17, 2019, cannabis edible products and concentrates are also legal for sale.

Where can recreational cannabis be sold?

Cannabis can only be sold in specialty cannabis-only retail stores. It can not be sold in locations where retailers are selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Cannabis retail stores are privately run, but they sell provincially licensed product and will follow provincial guidelines for staff training and security.

The City of Red Deer is responsible for issuing development permits and business licenses for cannabis retail stores and will influence where non-medical cannabis is sold via its land use bylaw.

Cannabis will also be sold online through a provincially operated system that will include safeguards for verifying the age of the person buying cannabis.

Where can cannabis stores be located?

The City of Red Deer updated its bylaws to supplement the provincial regulations by adding mandatory distances cannabis stores must be from each other and from places like schools, daycares and recreation facilities, to name a few. The updated bylaw also restricts where cannabis stores can be located within Red Deer.

The bylaw amendments were approved on May 14, 2018, after first reading on March 5 and a public hearing on April 16. An online survey was also conducted to get feedback from citizens resulting in 1,474 people responding to the survey.

Amendments to the bylaw included:

  • Clarification that all cannabis sales require approval by The City, and retailers are not automatically allowed to start selling cannabis after legalization
  • Limiting cannabis retail sales to C1 City Centre (Downtown) Commercial District and C4 Major Arterial District.
  • Mandating various setbacks from locations with sensitive uses, with the following rules for potential non-medical cannabis store locations:
    • Must be 300 m from an approved hospital
    • Must be 300 m from K-12 schools, 100 m for post-secondary
    • Must be 300 m from indoor recreation facilities
    • Must be 300 m from other cannabis stores (to prevent clustering)
    • Must be 300 m from daycares (is reciprocal to daycares if a cannabis store is set up first)
    • Must not be co-located with the sale of tobacco and a number of other retail types
    • Can only operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Shall not be located next to a drinking establishment, microbrewery or liquor store
    • No person may ingest/consume cannabis on retail premises
    • No outdoor storage
    • No emission of odour
    • Products in the store must not be visible from the outside
    • Drive-through windows are prohibited
    • Must have professionally installed and monitored alarm system
    • Must have digital camera security system
    • The business name must be prominently displayed at all public access points
Who, when and how can someone apply to open a non-medical cannabis store?

The City of Red Deer began accepting development permit applications for private cannabis retail stores on July 11, 2018. Approval is required before a cannabis retail store can open in Red Deer. 

Applicants must also include proof of eligibility from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). The AGLC application process has been open since March 6, 2018.

These requirements apply even if you have an existing retail store or cannabis counselling service; you will not be able to automatically sell cannabis once legalization takes effect.

Anyone can apply to open a cannabis store; however, the following requirements currently exist:

  • Cannabis cannot be sold with alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals
  • All applicants must go through a provincial licensing and eligibility process prior to submitting an application with The City of Red Deer
  • All applicants will have to get a City development permit and a business license
Can I smoke cannabis in public?

No. Consuming cannabis in public, which includes smoking and vaping cannabis, is prohibited per The City’s Smoke Free Bylaw. The bylaw prohibits smoking or any form of consumption of cannabis in any public location. This bylaw is in addition to the Alberta Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis that limits smoking and vaping in locations such as playgrounds, sports fields, hospitals and schools, to name a few.

How are rules about smoking and vaping cannabis in public enforced?

The City of Red Deer is responsible for enforcing municipal requirements for smoking and vaping of cannabis in public. Provincial regulations are enforced by the AGLC.

Can I grow cannabis at home? And if so, how much?

The federal government is responsible for regulating the growing of cannabis at home. Adults who are 18 or older can grow up to four cannabis plants, per residence (household) for personal use.

Renters, or people living in condos or multi-family dwellings, may be restricted from growing cannabis in their homes based on rules in rental agreements or condominium bylaws.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have specific questions, please call us at 403-342-8111, and we will get you to the right department and people who can answer your specific questions.