Commonly asked questions

 

Retail cannabis licence

What are the first steps in getting a retail cannabis licence?

The first step is to download a retail cannabis licence application from aglc.ca, then contact your municipality to determine if there are any applicable bylaws or restrictions regarding retail cannabis stores.

Can I pay all application fees and the due diligence deposit with a single cheque?

No, the $3,000 due diligence deposit must be paid with a separate cheque. The $400 application fee and $700 annual licensing fee can be combined into one payment.

What is included in the due diligence process?

The due diligence process is comprehensive and includes, but is not limited to:

  • an interview
  • financial and non-financial investigative analysis inquiries, which may include liaising with law enforcement agencies and other regulatory bodies
  • conducting enhanced indices searches including credit, litigation, bankruptcy and open source searches
  • any other inquires deemed to be necessary

How many retail cannabis licences will be granted?

There is no cap on the total number of retail licences; however, no person(s) or entity can hold more than 15 per cent of retail cannabis licences in the province. AGLC had established a maximum number of stores that any one entity could apply for (37) based on an estimation of how many locations Alberta would likely see by the end of the first year of legalization (250).

As of September 16, 2019, AGLC has issued 283 cannabis retail store licences in Alberta.

To ensure the issuing of new licences will not result in more than 15 per cent of the total number of cannabis licences, effective immediately the maximum number will be set at 42 until December 31, 2020.

Is Alberta allowing for vertical integration in the cannabis industry?

The Alberta model has been designed with a number of safeguards in place to prevent monopolies and price fixing, including:

  • Licensed producers that wish to open a retail store must establish that store as a separate company (from any other business of the applicant)
  • Retail locations will be specialized stores
  • All retailers are subject to legislation and requirements around anti-competition, trade-practice and inducements
  • AGLC has the authority to establish a minimum price for retail should circumstances require it
  • No person(s) or entity can hold more than 15 per cent of retail cannabis licences in the province

For example, a licensed producer who also owned a retail store would sell their product to AGLC and then purchase it back to supply their retail store.  

Can a business or person weigh in on whether a retail cannabis store can open in its neighbourhood?

Many municipalities have a process that allows for public input on the licensing of businesses. For more information, please contact your local municipality.

What other products can I carry in my retail store other than cannabis? What kinds of accessories can a retail cannabis store sell?

Retail cannabis stores are permitted to sell cannabis products and cannabis accessories that promote responsible use. 

What business relationships are prohibited?

AGLC is responsible for ensuring that relationships among cannabis suppliers, cannabis representatives and cannabis licensees are competitive in nature. Cannabis suppliers or representatives are prohibited from providing any services, items or activities to a cannabis licensee that could directly benefit the licensee. Cannabis licensees are prohibited from requesting any such inducements from cannabis suppliers or representatives. Specific policy on prohibited inducements and benefits can be found under section 6.3 of the Retail Cannabis Store Handbook.  

What are some examples of inducements?

Inducements include: money, free products, volume discounts, paid vacations, furniture, equipment, services (such as painting or decorating), items considered essential to the licensee’s operation, staff incentives, paid entertainment, paid advertising, or any other thing prohibited under the Gaming and Liquor Act, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, or AGLC policy.

How much cannabis product can I have in my store at one time?

Currently there is no limit to the amount of stock a retailer can have onsite.

Can a cannabis retailer provide door-to-door delivery?

No, retailers are not permitted to deliver cannabis.

Will potential customers be able to sample products in a retail cannabis store?

No, the sampling of cannabis products is not permitted within a retail cannabis store.

Can I consume cannabis in a retail cannabis store?

No, the use and/or consumption of cannabis is not permitted within a retail cannabis store.

Will children be able to enter the retail cannabis store?

No person under the age of 18 will be permitted in a retail cannabis store.

Will potential cannabis retailers be able to partner with a tobacco retailer who already has a retail space to sell accessories and cannabis out of that store?

No, cannabis cannot be sold in a location that sells tobacco.

What will be the hours of operation for retail cannabis stores?

Hours for a retail cannabis store are the same as liquor stores, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. However, municipalities have the ability to reduce the hours should they decide it will better serve their community.

What are the training requirements for retail cannabis licensees and their employees?

To work in Alberta’s cannabis industry you must be an AGLC approved Qualified Cannabis Worker (QCW) by completing the following:

1. Complete SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training; AND

2. Complete QCW application package and submit to AGLC

Individuals working in a position where cannabis is provided under the authority of a cannabis licence, including licensed cannabis supplier representatives, licensed premises owners, store staff and security supervisors and staff must be AGLC approved QCWs.

Who can object to a licence application?

Anyone can submit an objection to a proposed licence during the 21 day objection period that it is posted online. AGLC does not regulate factors that fall under the responsibility of the municipality. For a list of these factors visit https://aglc.ca/cannabis/retail-cannabis-store-licences/retail-cannabis-licensing-objections.

Education & Public Awareness

What is AGLC doing to prevent minors from accessing cannabis?

Age-verification processes are established for online sales both at the time of purchase and delivery.

Individuals working under the authority of a cannabis licence must be approved by AGLC as a Qualified Cannabis Worker (QCW). The first step of the QCW application process is to successfully complete AGLC's SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training program. SellSafe helps workers understand how to sell cannabis responsibly according to law and in a way that keeps customers and others safe from cannabis-related harms.

AGLC’s Inspections program will include information for the licensee on checking for suitable identification, conducting checks to ensure the licensee requests ID from anyone who appears under 25 and investigating all complaints against a licensee.

Where can Albertans go to get more information regarding cannabis?

Visit AGLC.ca/cannabis for the provincewide public awareness education program regarding the responsible use of cannabis. Additionally, various agencies such as Health Canada and Alberta Health Services have excellent resources available to the public.

Enforcement

What level of enforcement does AGLC have regarding legal cannabis in Alberta?

AGLC enforces the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Regulation and AGLC Board policies relating to the regulated wholesale, distribution and online sales of retail cannabis in Alberta. 

What are the fines/penalties if a retailer is caught selling cannabis to someone under 18?

Anyone selling or providing cannabis to a minor can be charged with a criminal offence.

Consumers

How much will retail cannabis cost?

As with liquor, AGLC sets the wholesale price while retailers set the retail price. This does mean that AGLC sets the retail price for online sales.

Can I make multiple cannabis purchases on the same day?

Yes, multiple retail and online purchases can be made with a maximum of 30 grams per single transaction; however, persons can only legally have 30 grams in their possession while in public at any time.

Can I grow my own cannabis at home?

Adults will be permitted to grow a maximum of four plants per household. This will be regulated by enforcement agencies and municipalities.

What types of cannabis products are available for purchase from in Alberta?

Please visit AlbertaCannabis.org for available products.

When will edibles, extracts and topicals (EETs) be available for sale in Alberta? 

Albertans can expect to see edibles, extracts and topicals (EETs) available for sale in retail locations and on AlbertaCannabis.org in January 2020.​

What EETs will be available?

Most likely there will be a limited number of products available initially while licensed producers determine market demand.

Online cannabis sales

Why is AGLC operating the government’s online cannabis store?

Because of AGLC’s extensive experience as the trusted regulator of gaming and liquor in Alberta, the Government of Alberta designated AGLC with the operation of online cannabis sales.

AGLC's online site, Albertacannabis.org is the only legal online purchasing option. Consumers are not able to buy online directly from retailers or licensed producers.

This is in response to concerns raised by Albertans about the need for comprehensive age-verification processes during the initial sale and at time of delivery. It will also give Albertans confidence in their purchases, as there will be a single online source for retail cannabis in the province.

How will orders be delivered?

Albertans are able to purchase cannabis from Albertacannabis.org and have it delivered via Canada Post or Purolator.

Will the online store be in direct competition with private retail stores?

The online store offers access to markets that won’t be serviced by retail stores, an alternative to consumers who do not want to shop at a retail location, as well as an age-verification process to keep retail cannabis out of the hands of minors.

How do online sales work?

AGLC has developed a secure online e-commerce system. A comprehensive online age-verification process is utilized at both the point of purchase and delivery stages of cannabis transactions.

Visit Albertacannabis.org for more information.

 

Distribution

Who regulates recreational cannabis products?

Health Canada is responsible for the regulatory enforcement of the Cannabis Act, Cannabis Regulation and Federal Guidance Documents relating to the production, packaging, labeling, quality and advertising of all cannabis products for sale in Canada.

AGLC is responsible for enforcing the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Regulation and AGLC Board policies relating to the regulated wholesale, distribution and online sales of retail cannabis in Alberta.

AGLC ensures that only regulated and approved cannabis products are for sale at licensed premises and works with enforcement agencies in regards to unapproved cannabis products.

Will foreign cannabis producers be able to supply the Canadian market?

No, only Health Canada approved licensed producers in Canada can supply cannabis product.

How will AGLC allocate the distribution of cannabis? Will the major city centres get preference over the rural locations?

AGLC is responsible for the wholesale and distribution of retail cannabis products, ensuring the online system and licensed private retailers meet the regulatory compliance guidelines for cannabis. AGLC purchases licensed product from federally licensed producers and distributes it to licensed private retailers and Albertans who purchase cannabis products through the online store. The distribution system is similar to the system Alberta currently has in place for alcohol. There will not be preferential distribution based on location.

Where will AGLC warehouse cannabis products?

Information on AGLC's cannabis warehouse will not be disclosed.

How will cannabis products in the supply chain be tracked?

Information is collected and submitted to Health Canada and Statistics Canada on the retailers’ behalf. Licensees are required to review and comply with the Federal Compliance Reporting Technical Specifications available at aglc.ca\cannabis\legislation-and-aglc-policies.

In order to comply with the reporting requirements, provincial legislation and AGLC Board policy, retail cannabis licensees are required to submit monthly reports to AGLC. These reports involve tracking the movement of cannabis between:

  1. AGLC and licensed retail cannabis establishments
  2. Licensed retail cannabis establishments and consumers