What is legal in Alberta?

Federal legislation policies allow for legally-purchased:

  • dried cannabis (pre-rolls or product)
  • oils
  • plant seeds
  • fresh cannabis 
  • capsules 

Albertans are able to use purchased seeds to grow up to four plants per household, but live plants are not available for sale. 

Commercially-prepared edibles are not legal during the initial stage of legalization. They'll be made available from a provincially-licensed retailer once the federal government has developed regulations for edibles, and the province has implemented distribution. Home-prepared edibles, such as baking or teas, are allowed for personal use for those over 18.

Creams that contain cannabis won't be legal under the proposed recreational federal legislation policies and there are no plans to legalize them at this time.

How much cannabis am I personally allowed to have?

An adult (18+) in Alberta is allowed to possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced or grown dried cannabis in public, or the equivalent volume in other forms.

The Government of Canada has ratios for other cannabis products that define the 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 anyone under the age of 18. Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to enter cannabis retail locations, even if accompanied by a parent or guardian.  

To prevent youth from using cannabis, the Cannabis Act addresses specific concerns about minors. It 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 creates two new criminal offences, with maximum penalties of 14 years in jail for giving or selling cannabis to youth and for 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 a specific healthcare practitioners. Researchers continue to explore how and why cannabis works for some people.

For more information, visit the medical use of cannabis on the Government of Canada website.

Why buy legal?

Albertans are able to legally purchase cannabis, to grow or buy, only from an AGLC-licensed cannabis retail store or AlbertaCannabis.org.

The Canadian cannabis black market has been a lucrative trade for some –– estimated at over $8 billion in a study published by Deloitte. Experts believe that the black market may fade following legalization, as the benefits of a regulated product outweigh the risks of the illegal market. The federal and provincial governments are working with licensed producers to ensure pricing is competitive, in a bid to discourage competition with the black market.

The benefits of legal cannabis include:

  • Quality Control
    • Licensed Producers (LPs) need to be licensed by Health Canada as they set industry-wide standards and rules
    • during the growing process, LPs must meet physical and personnel security requirements, sanitary production requirements and testing of cannabis quality; Health Canada prohibits the use of dangerous pesticides
    • in cases where the LP does not comply with government criteria, Health Canada can recall and destroy the tainted cannabis, invoke administrative penalties (up to $1 million) and revoke the grower’s licence
    • illegal cannabis growers, on the other hand, have no governing agency guaranteeing quality; this can lead to unsafe growing conditions, toxic pesticides and fertilizers, bacterial contaminants including mold and the potential for deliberate tampering
  • Strain Selection
    • LPs may carry multiple strains of dried cannabis, with detailed information about each one
    • strains of legal cannabis are controlled, with THC and CBD content properly labelled 
    • with illegal cannabis, consumers may not know exactly what they are getting as there is no guarantee that strains are labelled properly and the THC content may be unknown
  • Product Availability
    • The legal market has different types of products available. These include:
      • dried cannabis (pre-rolls or product)
      • oils
      • seeds
      • capsules
  • Strong Communities
    • consumers that choose retail stores over the illegal market help support a legal system as a portion of every dollar that it is spent at a store goes back into the community and helps Albertans
  • Ease of Access
    • online sales and retail stores allow consumers to choose where, when and why they buy cannabis products, in a way that is reliable and transparent
    • legal cannabis is placed in tamper/child proof packaging
  • Education
    • all staff working in Alberta cannabis retail stores are certified as Qualified Cannabis Workers and must complete AGLC's SellSafe course specific to legal cannabis sales
    • albertacannabis.org has complete product information to help you to make educated choices