What changed with online cannabis sales?
On Mar. 8, 2022, amendments to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act enabled cannabis-licensed retailers to sell cannabis online and provide delivery. AGLC withdrew from online cannabis sales and AlbertaCannabis.org is no longer in business.
How much revenue to you expect cannabis retailers to gain?
There are too many factors to accurately estimate the impact on individual cannabis retailers. However, retailers might see higher profits by providing more options and market to their customer base.
What will be the impact on government revenue as a result of this change?
AGLC estimates that its net operating income will be reduced by approximately $800,000 annually due to withdrawing from online sales.
Who is permitted to sell cannabis online?
All licensed cannabis retailers operating a physical store are able to sell cannabis online if they choose, as long as they apply for and receive an endorsement from AGLC’s Inspections Branch.
How will Albertans know which licensed cannabis retailers have an online store?
Albertans can find a list of all licensed cannabis retailers with an endorsed licence for online sales and delivery here.
How are retailers licensed to provide online sales?
Alberta retail cannabis licensees must request an endorsement to their current licence to allow online sales by contacting email@example.com, but will automatically be endorsed for delivery. A licensee's proposed website must also be reviewed by AGLC inspectors prior to launch to ensure it is compliant with all federal and provincial legislation, including AGLC policy.
For more information or questions, retailers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the requirements for online sales?
- All licensees must follow all legislation, including the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, federal Cannabis Act and the Personal Information Protection Act.
- AGLC’s policy handbooks require licensees to take reasonable steps to ensure that minors cannot open online accounts or access cannabis promotion, marketing or advertising (per the federal Cannabis Act).
What does endorsement mean?
AGLC inspectors will review a licensee’s proposed website making sure it is compliant will all federal and provincial legislation, including AGLC policy.
Can a retailer only have an online store and not a physical location?
No, only a licensed retailer with an operating brick-and-mortar store can have an e-commerce site. A retailer must first be approved for a retail cannabis store licence in order to obtain an endorsement. Without a current licensed, as well as being actively open and operating in a physical premises, a retailer would not qualify for online sales.
What will the enforcement mechanisms be?
- Cannabis retailers will be responsible for ensuring that their online platforms meet all municipal, provincial and federal legislation and regulatory requirements.
- Upon granting an endorsement to licensees, AGLC will inspect online sites on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance with AGLC policy and any other requirements.
- AGLC will investigate any complaints brought forward against a licensee regarding potential violations.
- If a retailer is found to be non-compliant in any requirements (municipal, provincial or federal), AGLC may impose an administrative sanction.
How does delivery work?
The following conditions must be met when delivering cannabis.
- the delivery person must be at least 18 years of age
- the delivery person must have SellSafe certification – this is only applicable to retail licensee staff, not common carriers
- a copy of the Retail Cannabis Store licence must be retained by the staff member conducting the delivery
- cannabis must not be delivered to a minor or intoxicated person
- when an order is to be delivered to an individual who appears to be under age 25, the delivery person must check government-issued photograph identification
- cannabis must be delivered only to locations within Alberta and where cannabis possession is legal
- individual cannabis orders may not exceed 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent
Are delivery services like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats be able to deliver cannabis?
No, delivery is permitted only by the licensed retailer or common carrier. When an order is delivered to an individual who appears to be under 25, the delivery person must check government-issued photo identification.
What is a common carrier?
“Common carrier” means a business that provides merchandise transportation services to the general public in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations governing commercial transportation in Alberta. Examples of business that would be considered common carriers include but are not necessarily limited to national courier companies, postal services and shipping companies. Examples of companies that would not meet the definition of the common carrier include restaurants, flower shops and other businesses providing delivery of their own products and services and specialized businesses that focus on a specific industry, like food delivery and/or passenger transportation.
Are common carriers required to have SellSafe Staff training?
They are not, but the delivery person must be at least 18 years old.
Can cannabis be delivered outside of Alberta?
Cannabis can be delivered only to locations within Alberta and where cannabis possession is legal.
What are delivery hours?
A cannabis order must leave the licensed premises during their regular business hours; however, deliveries may continue for 30 minutes after closing. Cannabis that is undelivered for any reason must be returned to the retail cannabis store as soon as practical.
Do you anticipate supply/delivery issues? What about rural or remote areas with no access to local cannabis retailers and for whom shipping costs could be high?
Alberta has over 750 retail locations in the province, and licensees can use common carriers such as Canada Post, mitigating many of these concerns.
How much products can a single cannabis order contain?
Individual cannabis orders may not exceed 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent. However, multiple online purchases can be made with a maximum of 30 grams per single transaction. Still, persons can legally have only 30 grams in their possession while in public at any time.
Can more than one order be delivered at a time?
Yes, more than one order may be delivered at a time, but individual cannabis orders may not exceed 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent.
Is curbside delivery permitted?
Curbside delivery is permitted under the following conditions:
- the delivery may occur only after the sales transaction has been completed online or in the store
- verification that the customer receiving the delivery is at least 18 years old
- no more than 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent may be provided to a customer
- the delivery takes place outside of a vehicle
Can an online retailer charge for delivery?
Yes, retailers can add a delivery charge to online orders.
What mandatory pieces of information must be displayed on a licensees' website?
For licensees who have obtained an endorsement for online sales, the licensee’s website homepage must prominently display:
- all of the licensees’ licence numbers
- all of the licensed premises names
- the physical addresses of the licensed premises
- mandatory AGLC social responsibility material
- a link to AGLC’s cannabis licensee search page at aglc.ca/cannabis/retail-cannabis/cannabis-licensee-search
Can licensees use a third-party app or website to process orders?
- No. Licensees are not allowed to process orders initially placed through third-party websites or apps not operated by the licensee.
- Online cannabis purchases must be conducted and paid for by the customer directly with the licensee. Licensees are not allowed to process orders initially placed through third-party websites or apps not operated by the licensee.
- These restrictions are not intended to prohibit licensees from using services provided by companies to facilitate their own e-commerce, inventory management and regulatory compliance.
Retail cannabis licences
What are the first steps in getting a retail cannabis licence?
The first step is to download a retail cannabis licence application from aglc.ca, then contact your municipality to determine if there are any applicable bylaws or restrictions regarding retail cannabis stores.
Can I pay all application fees and the due diligence deposit with a single cheque?
No, the $3,000 due diligence deposit must be paid with a separate cheque. The $400 application fee and $700 annual licensing fee can be combined into one payment.
What is included in the due diligence process?
The due diligence process is comprehensive and includes, but is not limited to:
- an interview
- financial and non-financial investigative analysis inquiries, which may include liaising with law enforcement agencies and other regulatory bodies
- conducting enhanced indices searches including credit, litigation, bankruptcy and open source searches
- any other inquires deemed to be necessary
How many retail cannabis licences will be granted?
There is no restriction on the total number of retail licences that can be granted.
Is Alberta allowing for vertical integration in the cannabis industry?
The Alberta model has been designed with a number of safeguards in place to prevent monopolies and price fixing, including:
- licensed producers that wish to open a retail store must establish that store as a separate company (from any other business of the applicant)
- retail locations will be specialized stores
- all retailers are subject to legislation and requirements around anti-competition, trade-practice and inducements
- AGLC has the authority to establish a minimum price for retail should circumstances require it
For example, a licensed producer who also owned a retail store would sell their product to AGLC and then purchase it back to supply their retail store.
Can a business or person weigh in on whether a retail cannabis store can open in its neighbourhood?
Many municipalities have a process that allows for public input on the licensing of businesses. For more information, please contact your local municipality.
What other products can I carry in my retail store other than cannabis? What kinds of accessories can a retail cannabis store sell?
Retail cannabis stores are permitted to sell cannabis products and cannabis accessories that promote responsible use.
What business relationships are prohibited?
AGLC is responsible for ensuring that relationships among cannabis suppliers, cannabis representatives and cannabis licensees are competitive in nature. Cannabis suppliers or representatives are prohibited from providing any services, items or activities to a cannabis licensee that could directly benefit the licensee. Cannabis licensees are prohibited from requesting any such inducements from cannabis suppliers or representatives. Specific policy on prohibited inducements and benefits can be found under section 6.3 of the Retail Cannabis Store Handbook.
What are some examples of inducements?
Inducements include: money, free products, volume discounts, paid vacations, furniture, equipment, services (such as painting or decorating), items considered essential to the licensee’s operation, staff incentives, paid entertainment, paid advertising, or any other thing prohibited under the Gaming and Liquor Act, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, or AGLC policy.
How much cannabis product can I have in my store at one time?
There is no limit to the amount of stock a retailer can have onsite.
Can potential customers be able to sample products in a retail cannabis store?
No, the sampling of cannabis products is not permitted within a retail cannabis store.
Can cannabis be consumed in a retail cannabis store?
No, the use and/or consumption of cannabis is not permitted within a retail cannabis store.
Can children enter a retail cannabis store?
No person under the age of 18 will be permitted in a retail cannabis store.
Will cannabis retailers be able to partner with a tobacco retailer who already has a retail space to sell accessories and cannabis out of that store?
No, cannabis cannot be sold in a location that sells tobacco.
What are the hours of operation for retail cannabis stores?
Hours for a retail cannabis store are the same as liquor stores, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. However, municipalities have the ability to reduce the hours should they decide it will better serve their community.
What are the training requirements for retail cannabis licensees and their employees?
To work in Alberta’s cannabis industry you must be an AGLC approved Qualified Cannabis Worker (QCW) by completing the following:
1. Complete SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training; AND
2. Complete QCW application package and submit to AGLC
Individuals working in a position where cannabis is provided under the authority of a cannabis licence, including licensed cannabis supplier representatives, licensed premises owners, store staff and security supervisors and staff must be AGLC approved QCWs.
Who can object to a licence application?
Anyone can submit an objection to a proposed licence during the seven day objection period that it is posted online. AGLC does not regulate factors that fall under the responsibility of the municipality. For a list of these factors visit https://aglc.ca/cannabis/retail-cannabis-store-licences/retail-cannabis-licensing-objections.
Education & Public Awareness
What is AGLC doing to prevent minors from accessing cannabis?
Age-verification processes are established for online sales both at the time of purchase and delivery.
Individuals working under the authority of a cannabis licence must be approved by AGLC as a Qualified Cannabis Worker (QCW). The first step of the QCW application process is to successfully complete AGLC's SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training program. SellSafe helps workers understand how to sell cannabis responsibly according to law and in a way that keeps customers and others safe from cannabis-related harms.
AGLC’s Inspections program will include information for the licensee on checking for suitable identification, conducting checks to ensure the licensee requests ID from anyone who appears under 25 and investigating all complaints against a licensee.
Where can Albertans go to get more information regarding cannabis?
Visit CannabisSense for the provincewide public awareness education program regarding the responsible use of cannabis. Additionally, various agencies such as Health Canada and Alberta Health Services have excellent resources available to the public.
What level of enforcement does AGLC have regarding legal cannabis in Alberta
AGLC enforces the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Regulation and AGLC Board policies relating to the regulated wholesale, distribution and online sales of retail cannabis in Alberta.
What are the fines/penalties if a retailer is caught selling cannabis to someone under 18?
Anyone selling or providing cannabis to a minor can be charged with a criminal offence.
How much will retail cannabis cost?
As with liquor, AGLC sets the wholesale price while retailers set the retail price.
Can I make multiple cannabis purchases on the same day?
Yes, multiple retail and online purchases can be made with a maximum of 30 grams per single transaction; however, persons can only legally have 30 grams in their possession while in public at any time.
Can I grow my own cannabis at home?
Adults are permitted to grow a maximum of four plants per household. This is regulated by enforcement agencies and municipalities.
Who regulates non-medical cannabis products?
Health Canada is responsible for the regulatory enforcement of the Cannabis Act, Cannabis Regulation and Federal Guidance Documents relating to the production, packaging, labeling, quality and advertising of all cannabis products for sale in Canada.
AGLC is responsible for enforcing the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Regulation and AGLC Board policies relating to the regulated wholesale, distribution and online sales of retail cannabis in Alberta.
AGLC ensures that only regulated and approved cannabis products are for sale at licensed premises and works with enforcement agencies in regards to unapproved cannabis products.
Can foreign cannabis producers supply the Canadian market?
No, only Health Canada approved licensed producers in Canada can supply cannabis product.
How does AGLC allocate the distribution of cannabis? Do the major city centres get preference over the rural locations?
AGLC is responsible for the wholesale and distribution of retail cannabis products, ensuring the online system and licensed private retailers meet the regulatory compliance guidelines for cannabis. AGLC purchases licensed product from federally licensed producers and distributes it to licensed private retailers. The distribution system is similar to the system Alberta currently has in place for alcohol. There will not be preferential distribution based on location.
How are cannabis products in the supply chain tracked?
Information is collected and submitted to Health Canada and Statistics Canada on the retailers’ behalf. Licensees are required to review and comply with the Federal Compliance Reporting Technical Specifications available at aglc.ca\cannabis\legislation-and-aglc-policies.
In order to comply with the reporting requirements, provincial legislation and AGLC Board policy, retail cannabis licensees are required to submit monthly reports to AGLC. These reports involve tracking the movement of cannabis between:
- AGLC and licensed retail cannabis establishments
- Licensed retail cannabis establishments and consumers