The provincial government of Alberta has recently started allowing interested people and entities to submit applications for private dispensary licenses to become retailers of non-medical cannabis once the appropriate federal legislation is passed in the summer of this year, 2018. This article discusses what prospective retailers need to know about how to apply for a recreational cannabis retail licence in Alberta.


What You Should Do First

Everyone who is intending to be licensed should download the appropriate application forms found here. You should read those documents and then get in touch with the municipal authorities where you intend to operate the retail outlet.

The municipal authorities will let you know what requirements you should meet in order to get their nod of approval as a potential non-medical cannabis retailer in that area. These municipal requirements may include how far your outlet can be from a school or hospital.

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The Cost of Applying

You are expected to make the appropriate payments by the time you submit your application for a recreational cannabis retail licence in Alberta. These payments include an application fee of $400. You are also expected to make a $700 payment for the annual licence. These two payments can be made using a single cheque.

Applicants are also required to make a $3000 due diligence fee. This amount should be paid separately from the two payments referred to earlier. This due diligence fee covers all the costs which will be incurred in the process of vetting each applicant. Those costs include criminal record background checks, financial soundness/credit worthiness checks and any other investigation which may be deemed necessary by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). What is left from this deposit after all the investigations are completed will be refunded to the applicant.

However, you should not assume that paying these fees will assure you of a licence. The success of your application will be determined by what is discovered during the investigations and how well you scored on the other requirements, such as getting municipal approval.


How Long Before Application Outcomes Are Known

Applications will be processed individually and each case in unique. Consequently, it may be hard to estimate how long it will take you to complete the process. However, AGLC has revealed that the process to obtain a recreational cannabis retail licence in Alberta may take anywhere from two to four months. In other words, it will take as much time as is needed to perform each of the required checks on you.


The Number of Licences Being Issued

Currently, there is no limit at the provincial level regarding the number of recreational licences which are up for the taking. However, the municipalities were given the liberty to decide how many applicants they should give consent to depending on the needs of the community in question.

For example, the municipality may decide how far each approved retail outlet should be from another. This can indirectly limit the total number of licences issued in that jurisdiction.

An extra measure has been taken to stop an individual or a single entity from controlling the retail market of non-medical cannabis. A 15% cap has been placed on the number of licences which can be obtained by someone or a company. For example, if 100 licences are issued in the province, no one will be allowed to have more than 15 of those licences.

The Role of the Public During the Application Process

Each application will be uploaded for public viewing and comment. Any feedback or objection to a given application should be forwarded to AGLC within 21 days from the time that application was made public on the website.

The feedback provided will then be considered as that application is being processed for approval (or rejection).


Employees of the Retail Outlets

Anyone who plans to work in a retail facility selling non-medical cannabis has to be certified. That certification is given once you undergo SellSafe training online. You can then apply to be a qualified cannabis worker by submitting the certificate and your criminal record check to AGLC.

These requirements also apply to owners/licensees. However, the training will only be available from June 2018 as a final step to the legalization of the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis.


Products and Quantities Sold

There is no limit on the quantity of cannabis products which you can have in stock. However, there is a limit on the quantity which you can sell in a single transaction. The federal limit of 30 grams also applies at the provincial level in Alberta.

Non-medical cannabis retail outlets will not be allowed to sell any other products, such as snacks, alcohol or pharmaceuticals.

Non-cannabis products sold will be restricted to the items which are needed or facilitate the consumption of non-medical cannabis. The provincial government is developing a framework for defining what those permitted products are.

Edmonton Cannabis Dispensary

In-Store Sampling or Consumption

Retailers will be barred from consenting to the consumption or sampling of non-medical cannabis within their premises. Sadly, this means no on-site vape lounges will be allowed.

Retail Stores and Children

No minor (anyone less than 18-years of age) is permitted to enter a retail store. Adults who move with minors must leave them outside the store and rejoin them after completing their transactions inside the retail store.


Hours of Operation

The hours when retailers of alcohol and tobacco are allowed to operate (10 am to 2 am) will also apply to retailers of non-medical cannabis. However, each municipality will be free to reduce those hours at its own discretion.


Retail Store Security

Retails stores are expected to put in place extensive security measures in and around their premises. These measures include video surveillance and an alarm system. The intention is to prevent or easily investigate incidents in which non-medical cannabis laws are violated.


Online Sales

Retail licensees will not be permitted to conduct online sales of recreational cannabis. Only AGLC will make online sales. This restriction may be reviewed later.

Sources of Products

Those licensed to sell cannabis will only obtain their stock from AGLC. This rule also applies to the approved cannabis producers who wish to operate retail outlets too. Such licensed producers will have to sell their products to the AGLC before buying them again for sale in their retail stores.



Retailers will only obtain supplies which are prepackaged. No retailer will be permitted to rebrand or repackage non-medical cannabis into smaller or any other package. This is to help to prevent illegal cannabis products from entering the system created to sell the regulated or approved products.


Regulation and Enforcement

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will be responsible for ensuring that the laws passed regarding the production, distribution, sale and consumption of cannabis are enforced. The commission will work with any other law enforcement agency which can be useful in helping AGLC to exercise its mandate.


Planning to Obtain a Recreational Cannabis Retail Licence in Alberta?

If you’re planning to launch a private cannabis dispensary in Alberta, then you need to be on! is Canada’s cannabis search platform helping Canadians and tourists discover everything Cannabis in the legalized market! We attract targeted Canadian online traffic, provide them with the information they need, and help them find legal cannabis businesses!


Discussion Topic

Have you already submitted your application or you know someone who has? How did you find the process? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!






Author: Cannabisnearme Team helps Canadians and cannabis tourists find local dispensaries, accessory stores, licensed producers, product brands, and service businesses working in the Canadian legal cannabis market.
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