Cannabis Legalization

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The Government of Canada legalizes recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018. While the legalization of cannabis is a federal decision, provinces and municipalities each have their own areas of responsibility to set clear processes for cannabis production, sale and consumption.

Please note that all municipalities and provinces have different rules regarding cannabis. It is your responsibility to ensure you know what is legal wherever you are.

What you need to know:

  • Cannabis can only be purchased from licensed stores or www.albertacannabis.org.
  • The minimum age for purchase and consumption in Alberta is 18 years old.
  • 30 grams of cannabis is the most you can buy or carry at a time.
  • Kids are not allowed to enter cannabis stores, even with an adult.
  • Consuming cannabis in public or in vehicles is illegal.
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal.
  • Only four (4) cannabis plants per household can be grown indoors for personal use.
  • Keep cannabis out of the hands of children by storing in a safe place beyond their reach.
  • Edibles are not yet legal to sell.


Where can you consume cannabis?

Users can only consume cannabis on private property. There is no smoking, vaping or consuming cannabis in any public place in Lacombe.

The City of Lacombe will not regulate recreational cannabis use on private property. 

Medicinal cannabis users are excluded from the rules around recreational cannabis, but must follow the tobacco-smoking rules outlined in Bylaw 461, the Cannabis and Tobacco Consumption Bylaw. Users must be able to show medical document proving entitlement to use medical cannabis.


Cannabis Retail Sales

A development/occupancy permit, building permit, sign permit and business licence are required to open a cannabis retail store in Lacombe.

The Development Officer may require additional plans and information considered necessary to properly evaluate a proposed development. For more information or assistance with the application process, please contact Planning and Development Services at (403)782-1264 or development@lacombe.ca.

Cannabis retail stores are either Permitted, Discretionary or Prohibited, depending on the location.

Cannabis retail stores are permitted uses in the following areas in Lacombe:

  • C1 - Downtown Commercial District
  • C3 - Transitional Commercial District
  • C4 - Highway Commercial District
  • C5 - Shopping Centre District
  • I1 –Light Industrial District

Cannabis retail stores are discretionary uses in C2 - Neighbourhood Commercial and DC2 - Direct Control districts. Development applications for these areas will be brought before the Municipal Planning Commission for consideration.

Cannabis retail sales are prohibited in the I1 - Light Industrial District located on 40 Brownstone Road and at 5536 58 Street (Winks Convenience Store).


Cannabis Production & Distribution

A development/occupancy permit, building permit, sign permit and business licence are required to open a major or minor cannabis production or distribution facility in Lacombe.

Major cannabis production and distribution means development occupying more than 200m², used for the production, cultivation and growth of cannabis, and minor cannabis production and distribution means development occupying up to & including 200m². For more information, please refer to the Land Use Bylaw 400.

The Development Officer may require additional plans and information considered necessary to properly evaluate a proposed development. For more information or assistance with the application process, please contact Planning and Development Services at (403)782-1264 or development@lacombe.ca.

Cannabis production and distribution is permitted uses in I1 – Light Industrial and I2 – Heavy Industrial districts.

Production and processing are discretionary uses in the following areas in Lacombe:

  • C3 - Transitional Commercial District
  • C4 - Highway Commercial District
  • C5 - Shopping Centre District
  • DC2 - Direct Control District

Cannabis production and distribution is prohibited in the I1 - Light Industrial District, located on 40 Brownstone Road.

Cannabis Impairment

The Lacombe Police Service 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.

As with all intoxicating substances, the Lacombe Police Service encourages everyone to consume responsibly and never drive under the influence of any substance that may cause impairment. 

Federal Penalties

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

Municipal Penalties

Some new areas the public will need to be aware of include the City of Lacombe's Bylaw 461, the Cannabis and Tobacco Consumption Bylaw, which prohibits the use or consumption of cannabis products in a public place.  Anyone found in contravention of the bylaw may receive a fine.

Cannabis can only be consumed on private property. There is no smoking, vaping or consuming cannabis in any public place in Lacombe.

Medicinal cannabis users are excluded from the rules around recreational cannabis, but must follow the tobacco-smoking rules outlined in Bylaw 461. Users must be able to show medical document proving entitlement to use medical cannabis.

The fines for contraventions of the City of Lacombe's Bylaw 461 are:

  • First Offence: $250
  • Second Offence: $500
  • Third and Subsequent Offences: $1,000

Provincial Penalties

Under the Provincial legislation, new offences have been created or combined with previous liquor related offences under the new Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. This act includes offences for consuming or unlawful conveyance of cannabis in a motor vehicle, public intoxication and offences relating to cannabis retail outlets. The Alberta Government made the following changes in April 2018:

  • Expanded zero tolerance for drivers in the Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) program. In addition to zero tolerance for alcohol, there will be zero tolerance for cannabis, cannabis/alcohol combination and illegal drugs in the blood stream.
  • Provincial sanctions for drug impaired drivers are the same as those that currently exist for criminal level alcohol-impaired driving, including:
    • Participation in a one-year ignition interlock program, remedial education, vehicle seizure and immediate 90-day licence suspension.
    • An immediate 90-day, fixed-term licence suspension for drivers who meet the criteria to be charged for impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada, followed by participation in a one-year provincial ignition interlock program. Drivers who choose not to participate in the ignition interlock program will remain suspended for their interlock term.

Source: SafeRoads.com – Government of Alberta