Provincial Municipal

Edmonton taking proactive approach to legalization with municipal by-law amendments in the works

By Whitney Abrams | April 6, 2017

In late March, a report was presented to the City of Edmonton’s Executive Committee outlining the status of legalization of a recreational marijuana market in Canada. The contents of the report presented to the executive committee included the federally appointed Task Force’s recommendations, in addition to case studies on how municipalities in Toronto and Vancouver have been dealing with cannabis up to this point.

City staff already have drafts of municipal by-law amendments in the works in anticipation of the soon-to-be tabled Federal legislation. With this proactive approach already underway, Edmonton anticipates that provincial and municipal legislation be drafted in 2018 and implemented by 2019.  These by-laws will include various permits and business license by-laws and go to vote this June.

Generally speaking, municipalities are entitled to regulate via by-laws in relation to zoning, business licensing and community standards. These areas are likely to be the first areas that municipalities deal with pending legalization.

With respect to zoning legislation, municipalities may create by-laws that regulate the locations of licensed producers, retail outlets, and the like. Specifics related to the location of marijuana businesses are likely to be some of the first by-laws to be passed.

Additionally, we expect to see public- place type by-laws come into effect fairly quickly, which will regulate where cannabis may be consumed, if anywhere, in public. As we have seen in Vancouver’s by-laws related to medical marijuana use, restrictions exist relative to distances required from schools, community centres, and neighbourhood houses.  We expect similar restrictions related to public safety and security to be fairly standard in other Canadian municipalities’ future by-laws.

Business licensing fees for retail and distribution outlets of recreational cannabis are also within the control of municipalities. Vancouver, for example, has already implemented amendments to their zoning and development by-laws whereby business licensing fees for retail dealers of medical marijuana have been set at $30,000 annually.

We look forward to seeing more municipalities take a proactive approach to legalization as we get closer to the launch of the recreational market.


Whitney Abrams

Whitney Abrams

Whitney’s work focuses on providing regulatory advice and advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses in the North American market. She is a frequent contributor to Canada Cannabis Legal.
Turn on Javascript!


Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






Allowed tags: <b><i><br>