Cannabis Legislation

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis refers to products made from the leaves, flowers and resins of the cannabis plant. Other names for cannabis include marijuana or pot. Cannabis users smoke, vaporize, or add cannabis to food or drinks.

As of October 17, 2018, the sale and consumption of cannabis was made legal in Canada.  There are new federal, provincial and municipal processes for cannabis production, sale and consumption. The legalization of cannabis will have many impacts. The Town of Olds has reviewed federal and provincial direction and legislation, to help manage the legalization of cannabis in the best interest of our community.

Please note that municipalities and provinces have different rules regarding cannabis. It is an individual's responsibility to ensure you know what is legal wherever you are.

Retail Cannabis in Olds

In Olds a development permit, building permit, sign permit and business license are required to open a cannabis retail store.
The following is an excerpt from the Town of Olds Land Use Bylaw regarding cannabis retail sales.

Retail Cannabis Regulations

Frequently Asked Questions

What land use districts are retail cannabis stores permitted in?

Cannabis retail sales are a permitted use in the Central Commercial, Highway Commercial, Highway Commercial A, Shopping Centre Commercial, and Industrial Business districts.

Will Olds cap the number of cannabis stores?

No, the Town will not be capping the number of cannabis retail stores.

Is there a setback requirement between cannabis stores?

Yes. There is a distance separation requirement of 100 metres between cannabis retailers.

Are there setback requirements from school sites or hospitals?

Yes. There is a distance separation requirement of 100 metres between cannabis retailers and schools and hospitals.

Are there setback requirements from parks, playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities?

Yes.  There is a distance separation requirement of 100 metres between cannabis retailers and a park, playground or outdoor recreational facility.

Are there setback requirements from libraries and indoor community recreational facilities?

Yes.  There is a distance separation requirement of 100 metres between cannabis retailers and libraries and indoor community recreational facilities.

Do I need approval from the Town of Olds to set up a cannabis retail store?

Yes. You will need a development permit (change of use) and a building permit. The fee for the Change of Use Development Permit is $100.

When can I apply to the Town of Olds?

Olds is now accepting retail cannabis permit applications. For more information on what is required to apply, contact Planning & Development by email at or by phone to 403-507-4855.

How long will it take to obtain my approvals from the Town of Olds?

Development permits (change of use) can be issued within a week or two, as long as application is complete.

When can I start construction?

You may begin construction on a retail space so long as you have a building permit. Retail operations cannot commence until a development permit has been issued.

What is the provincial licensing process?

Please refer to the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission for information regarding the provincial licensing process.

Use of Cannabis in Olds

Cannabis is now legal nation-wide, however public consumption of cannabis is prohibited in the Town of Olds.  The smoking and vaping of cannabis is banned from all public spaces as per the Town of Olds Cannabis Consumption Bylaw 2018-40.
A "public place" includes any place to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express or implied.

Users can only consume cannabis on private property.
Medicinal cannabis users are exempt from rules for recreational consumption of cannabis, and will instead follow tobacco-smoking rules, and must be able to show medical documentation confirming their entitlement to use medical cannabis.
Consumption of cannabis is prohibited at cannabis retail outlets.

Enforcement of Cannabis related offences

The smoking of Cannabis in public areas is restricted by the provincial Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act and the Tobacco Smoking Reduction Act, and the Town of Olds Cannabis Consumption Bylaw 2018-40.

In Olds the use of cannabis in a public place violators will be fined $287 for a first offence and $500 for a second and subsequent offences.
As with all intoxicating substances, Town of Olds and the RCMP encourages those who choose to consume to do so responsibly and never drive under the influence of any substance that may cause impairment.
The RCMP will continue to enforce federal, provincial and local legislation regarding cannabis and other controlled substances in relation to the impaired operation of a motor vehicle. These laws have been enforced prior to the new legislation and will continue to be enforced.
In Canada, impaired driving charges are the same regardless of the substance causing the impairment, whether it's drugs or alcohol. The federal penalties for drug-impaired driving and alcohol-impaired driving are the same:

  • First offence: $1,000 fine, 12-month licence suspension and a possible jail sentence of up to 18 months.
  • Second offence: minimum 30 days in jail and a two-year licence suspension.
  • Third or subsequent offence: minimum of 120 days in prison, three-year driving prohibition.
  • Causing bodily harm or death while driving impaired: maximum 10-years in prison or life sentence.

Source: Government of Canada
Concerns about suspected violations of rules regarding the sale of cannabis to minors can be directed to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) at 1-800-272-8876.
Concerns about suspected violations of rules regarding public consumption of cannabis can be directed to the Municipal Enforcement at or 403-556-4859.
Concerns about illegal production or possession, and trafficking of cannabis can be reported to the RCMP at 403-556-3224.