The Government of Canada has indicated that recreational cannabis will become legal across Canada in 2018. The legalization of cannabis is complex, and all levels of government -- including the federal government, provincial/territorial governments and municipal governments -- have a role.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a broad term referring to products made from the leaves, flowers and resins of the cannabis plant. Cannabis comes in many forms, such as seeds, fresh cannabis, dried herbal material and oils; it can be smoked, used with a vapourizer or added to food and beverages. Cannabis can be used for different purposes, including medicinal and recreational use. (Definition adapted from the Government of Alberta.)
Government of Canada
In April 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-45: Cannabis Act to legalize recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018. This bill creates a framework to control the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis, and sets possession limits, health and safety standards and criminal penalties for violations.
The Cannabis Act would allow adults to purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil and/or plants and seeds for cultivation from a provincially-regulated retailer or from a federally-licensed producer. Adults will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in public, cultivate up to four plants in their own residence and alter cannabis at home for personal use (such as to make cannabis edibles) as long as no dangerous organic solvents are used. The federal government intends to legalize the sale of cannabis edible products and concentrates at a later date.
The federal government will be responsible for issuing licences to distributors.
Note: laws relating to the distribution, sale and possession of cannabis for medical purposes will remain unchanged.
Government of Alberta
Provincial governments, including the Government of Alberta, are responsible for deciding how cannabis will be distributed and sold within the province. In addition, they are permitted to restrict where adults can consume cannabis, such as in public or in vehicles.
Albertans who are 18 years of age or older will be able to purchase cannabis products from privately-run retailers that receive their products from a government-regulated distributor or from government-operated online sales. These retailers are required to be cannabis-specific retailers, and will not be allowed to sell alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Prior to retailers being granted a cannabis retail licence, it must be approved by the municipality.
Albertans will be permitted to consume cannabis in their homes and in some public spaces where tobacco is allowed; however, smoking or vaping of cannabis will be restricted on hospital property and in some areas where children frequent. The use of cannabis in vehicles is strictly banned, with the exception of those being used as temporary residences, such as a parked recreational vehicle.
Bill 29: An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol Impaired Driving was passed on Nov. 29, 2017 to support provincial efforts to address drug-impaired driving and establish zero tolerance for those on graduated licences.
On Nov. 30, 2017, the Government of Alberta passed Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis to give the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) the authority to oversee compliance and retail licensing, enable online sales and create restrictions on youth possession and public consumption of cannabis.
Municipalities in Alberta are responsible for establishing rules for retail locations, creating additional restrictions on public consumption and establishing guidelines for land use/zoning.
Any business or individual wishing to develop a cannabis production facility in Leduc County will be required to produce their federal licence prior to consideration of a development application. Even if a business or individual possesses a licence, the development of a cannabis production facility is subject to approval by Leduc County.
Any business or individual wishing to open a cannabis retail store in Leduc County must obtain approval from the municipality prior to obtaining a licence from the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission.
Leduc County's land use bylaw amendments
At their Sept. 4 council meeting, Leduc County council adopted amendments to the Leduc County Land Use Bylaw and the New Sarepta Land Use Bylaw that regulate cannabis-related land uses within the county. The regulations adopted reflect the standards and guidelines set by the Government of Alberta for cannabis-related land uses, and additionally limit development of cannabis retail stores and production facilities to business/industrial-zoned areas.
- View the amendment to the Leduc County Land Use Bylaw 07-08
- View the amendment to the New Sarepta Land Use Bylaw 216