On top of the federal cannabis laws set in place by The Cannabis Act, Alberta has also issued its own laws and regulations for legal cannabis in their province, outlined in The Alberta Cannabis Framework.
The legislation set in place by Alberta lawmakers seeks to ensure safe and responsible cannabis practices while setting the standard for dispensing, purchasing and consuming cannabis products. Legal cannabis is overseen by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) who were tasked with providing clear oversight on the distribution and packaging of cannabis products to make sure only legal products are being sold in Alberta.
In line with the Federal Government’s proposed legal age, as well as the legal drinking age in the province, Alberta has set their minimum age for cannabis purchase and consumption at 18.
Adults 18 years of age or older are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public – this falls in line with the Federal Government’s possession limit as well.
It is strictly illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase, possess or consume cannabis. However, if an individual under the age of 18 is found in possession of 5 grams or less of cannabis they will not face criminal charges. Any person under the age of 18 found in possession of more than 5 grams of cannabis will face criminal charges.
When it comes to the purchase of legal cannabis, Alberta provides two options:
- Privately owned and operated retail stores
- Government-run online transactions
When purchasing recreational cannabis through either of the two government-approved outlets, adults of age are allowed to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis per transaction. In addition to limiting the purchase amount to the legal possession limit, retail cannabis dispensaries also place a strong emphasis on consumer education.
Online sales are only permitted through one outlet, albertacannabis.org, a website operated by the AGLC. No other online retail outlets or delivery methods are allowed at this time.
Adults of age are legally allowed to consume cannabis within private residences as well as public places where consuming tobacco products is also allowed.
Recreational cannabis consumption is banned in the following places:
- Within cars or vehicles (Except in the case of residential vehicles, like a parked RV)
- Cannabis retail dispensaries
- Child care facilities
- Public fields
- Skate or bicycle parks
- Outdoor theaters
- Outdoor pools
Consuming cannabis in prohibited places will result in penalties for any offender.
Cannabis Cafes and Social Lounges
While no social lounges or cannabis cafes are currently permitted, The Alberta Cannabis Framework does allow for the regulation and creation of such establishments if the government declares them legal down the road.
Medical cannabis will continue to be regulated by the Federal Government and is a separate entity from recreational cannabis in Alberta. For more information on medical cannabis in Alberta, contact Health Canada.
Adults 18 years of age or older are legally allowed to transport cannabis in their vehicles so long as the cannabis is within the legal possession limits and also secured in closed packaging out-of-reach of the driver or any occupants of the vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of cannabis in Alberta is strictly illegal and carries with it steep fines for those who are found in violation. Public safety is of the utmost importance for Alberta lawmakers and there will be a strong emphasis on education as the rollout of legal cannabis progresses.
Cannabis in the Workplace
Alberta considers impaired workers to be a danger to both themselves and their coworkers. Because of this, there are laws in place (pdf) aimed at keeping the workplace safe for everyone. As the rollout of legal cannabis continues in Alberta, lawmakers will work to refine and adapt the rules to include cannabis impairment as well.
Adults of age are legally allowed to cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants per residence. All cannabis cultivated by adults must be grown from seeds purchased from licensed cannabis outlets.