What's legal in Alberta?
What cannabis products am I legally allowed to have?
Federal legislation policies allow for the legal purchase of:
- Dried flower
- Milled flower
- Plant seeds
Additionally, adults are permitted to grow a maximum of four plants per household.
Commercially prepared edibles will not be legal during the initial stage of legalization. They have been proposed for October 2019. Home prepared edibles, such as baking or teas, are allowed for personal use for those over 18.
Some creams can contain cannabis, but these are not yet legal under current legislation.
How much cannabis am I personally allowed to have?
An adult (18+) in Alberta is legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of legally produced dried-cannabis (or the equivalent volume in other forms).
The Government of Canada has developed ratios for other cannabis products that can be used to determine a possession limit for those products.
One (1) gram of dried cannabis is equivalent to:
- 5 g of fresh cannabis
- 15 g of edible product
- 70 g of liquid product
- 0.25 g of concentrates (solid or liquid)
- 1 cannabis plant seed
How does the new legislation affect youth?
No person can sell or provide cannabis to any person under the age of 18. Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to enter cannabis retail locations, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
To prevent youth from using cannabis, the Cannabis Act addresses specific concerns about minors and prohibits:
- Products that are appealing to youth
- Packaging or labelling cannabis in a way that makes it appealing to youth
- Selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines
- Promoting cannabis, except in narrow circumstances where the promotion could not be seen by a young person
Penalties for violating these prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million or three years in jail. In addition, the Cannabis Act would create two new criminal offences, with maximum penalties of 14 years in jail, for giving or selling cannabis to youth and using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence
What about the guidelines for medical cannabis?
In Canada, medical use of cannabis is legal if documentation is provided by specific healthcare practitioners.
- More research is needed to determine the how and why it works for some people
- Want more information on regulations for medical cannabis?
Why buy legal?
For Albertans, cannabis is only able to be purchased legally to grow or buy from a licensed cannabis retail store or albertacannabis.org. Here are a few reasons why if you choose to use cannabis you should buy legally.
Ease of Access
Cannabis is legal for adults (18+), but like many controlled substances, there are negative health effects. Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines will help you stay informed on how to lower the risk of these negative effects, if you choose to use.
What are the tips for lower-risk use?
There are some people who should not use cannabis. These include those with a personal or family history of psychosis or substance abuse disorders
Health effects of cannabis
According to reports from The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and The University of Calgary, how much cannabis, how often and how you use it have the most influence on cannabis-related health problems.
Goals and Performance
Memory and learning
Judgement and decision making
Other health risks
Is there a difference when using edibles from other methods of consumption?
Yes. Because absorption into the blood stream of cannabis is much slower when it is swallowed or eaten, it can be more unpredictable than smoking it.
Can you ingest too much cannabis?
Yes. Being familiar with the symptoms of a cannabis poisoning will prepare you in the case of an emergency
Should you mix cannabis and alcohol?
No. The two substances can worsen the effects of the other and affect your body’s ability to deal with a potential overdose.
Where can I buy cannabis?
Cannabis is only legal to purchase at an AGLC licensed retail store or online through albertacannabis.org. Purchasing from any other place or person is illegal and subject to fines and/or court proceedings, unless you have medical authorization to purchase.
Where can I use cannabis?
Albertans are allowed to consume cannabis in single-family homes and locations where their municipality allows. Use is banned in cars or any motor vehicle, with the exception of those being used as a temporary residence, such as a parked RV.
Public smoking or vaping of cannabis in Alberta is prohibited from any place where tobacco is restricted, other locations where children might be present, on any hospital or school property.
Cannabis consumption is also prohibited at any cannabis retail outlet.
Cannabis and impaired driving
It doesn’t matter which substance you’re impaired by; impaired driving is still impaired driving. It’s always dangerous and it’s always illegal.
Studies have shown that among younger drivers, driving after using cannabis is more prevalent than driving after drinking alcohol.
Many more young people report getting into a car with a driver who has recently used cannabis as opposed to having used it themselves and then driven.
After alcohol, it is the most commonly detected substance among drivers who have submitted to roadside testing.
Growing, Storage, and Transportation
What are the limitations on home-growing cannabis?
- With the federal legislation, Canadians wishing to cultivate a small personal supply of cannabis are able to purchase their seeds from a provincially regulated retailer.
- Canadians are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use from licensed seeds.
- Renters, condo-dwellers and those who live in multi-family dwellings might be restricted from growing cannabis in their homes based on rules established in rental agreements or condominium bylaws.
- Individuals wishing to cultivate a limited amount of legal cannabis for personal use must do so themselves and may not designate another person to do so for them.
- The only exception will continue to be for individuals who have been authorized by their healthcare practitioner to use cannabis for medical purposes. In these situations, they may, if they are unable to cultivate their own cannabis, designate an individual to do so for them. This ensures that an individual who may be physically unable to cultivate their own cannabis for medical purposes can continue to have reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes
How can I home grow safely?
- Cannabis products can harm children and pets. Lock your grow space and products and dispose of waste safely.
- When home growing or storing cannabis, keep the Alberta Poison and Drug Information Service number handy and close by: 1-800-332-1414. If you think your child has ingested cannabis call this number.
- Keep your indoor air healthy. Monitor humidity levels. Use dehumidifiers and a carbon monoxide detector as needed both inside and outside the growing area.
- Limit, select and carefully use pesticides. Even food-grade pesticides were not safety-tested for typical cannabis use.
- Be aware of your building's electrical and fire safety limits.
- Grow safely and within the law. Organic solvents for cannabis processing are dangerous and have legal consequences.
- Check with your landlord or building manager for any restrictions before starting up a home grow space.
- Limit ultraviolet light exposure to your eyes and skin.
How can I store my cannabis?
- Cannabis should always be stored in a locked area out of sight and reach of children and teens. Keep the product in the original packaging which is marked with the universal sign for cannabis.
- What happens if a child eats or drinks cannabis unintentionally?
- Cannabis can make children very sick. If they eat or drink any cannabis products call the Poison and Drug information Service (PADIS) at 1-800-332-1414. PADIS can be reached 24 hours a day. If you have any reason to believe that your child has been exposed to cannabis, call PADIS.
- In other areas that have legalized cannabis, the rates of poisonings from cannabis have gone up. Remember that children can be poisoned from eating cannabis, papers or other residues.
- Pets are also at risk of poisonings. Call your vet if your pet eats or drinks any cannabis products or substances related to your personal cannabis consumption (butts, papers, residues, etc.).
What are the limitations on transporting cannabis?
- Within Canada, you are allowed to transport cannabis in a vehicle, but it must be secured in closed packaging and not within reach of the driver or occupants.
- Travelling with recreational cannabis is allowed within Canada and its provinces, provided it was purchased from a provincially licensed retailer. However, international travel with non-medicinal cannabis is not allowed regardless of your destination.
- Tourists who purchase recreational cannabis in Canada are not allowed to take it across federal borders.
- Carrying any cannabis or cannabis products (legal or illegal) across Canada's borders is a serious criminal offence, with individuals convicted of engaging in such activities liable for prosecution.