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Marijuana Laws and Policies in Alberta, Canada 2020

Cannabis in Canada is widely known across the world and this is thanks in large to the presence of marijuana in Alberta. As one of the country’s biggest and most highly developed provinces, Alberta’s cannabis scene is surely something to behold.

With a very lenient and tolerating set of rules in place, the province allows its residents and tourists to fully enjoy the benefits of weed! This has also led the province to be the number one consumer in terms of medical marijuana across the whole country!

From having numerous marijuana seed banks for physical and online customers to housing some establishments that allow on-site weed smoking, the province of Alberta already makes full use of marijuana! Cities such as Calgary and Edmonton, with their dense populations, are major places to go to if you are in Alberta and looking to get frosty with some weed!

History of Cannabis in Alberta, Canada

The history of cannabis in Alberta is closely connected with that of Canada as a whole. With the initial ban and prohibition of weed all throughout the world, Canada followed suit during the 1920s. For a long time, all use, possession, and distribution of weed was considered illegal within ALberta’s borders. As such, the residents in the province resorted to obtaining their weed supplies from black markets and unauthorized sources.

The illegal activities of cannabis consumption in Alberta reached its peak during the 60s well up to the late 90s. It was during this time that the world famous hippie movement swept across the different parts of North America and Canada.

As their ideologies mainly coincided with the use of weed to promote peace, people started getting their hands on more supplies. As a means to try and lessen the criminal activity rates connected with marijuana, the Canadian government looked to decriminalize the possession of such in 1972. This, however, was never able to amount to an actual bill. Thus, the widespread use of illegal marijuana continued.

Legalization of recreational and medical cannabis:

With the passing of the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in 2001 as well as the approval of the Cannabis Act in 2016, the whole country of Canada was finally able to achieve nationwide legalization of cannabis.

Alberta, as one of Canada’s major provinces, benefited greatly from these two achievements. In addition to allowing citizens to use cannabis for their personal reasons, the economy in Alberta was able to experience a significant improvement in revenue generation!

Since both medical and adult-use cannabis started becoming more and more accepted, it is now considered as a regular commodity in Alberta. The Canadian Revenue Agency, with the exception of certain marijuana products, taxes and regulates all sales and distribution of cannabis within the province’s jurisdiction.

Cannabis Regulation Body

In addition to the Canadian Revenue Agency’s taxing power over the sale and distribution of cannabis, there are other regulating bodies in place that help keep all marijuana activities and events under heavy control.

For all recreational cannabis, things primarily fall under the jurisdiction of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLQ). All policies and rules enumerated under the Alberta Cannabis Framework (established for the operations of the Cannabis Act) are governed and, in some cases, amended by the AGLQ.

The medical marijuana entity in Alberta is completely separate from the governing body for recreational cannabis. The responsibility for the medical marijuana program in this province mainly falls on the Federal Government (mainly the FDA and DOH). Normally, the government bodies are tasked with regulating the registration and application of patients with the medical program. In addition to this, all licensing of physicians and caregivers is also regulated by the Federal Government.

Legal Age, Purchasing, and Possession of Cannabis

Legal age:

In order to set an age limit that is consistent with the country’s general legal age, marijuana use and possession in Alberta is allowed for residents who are 18 years old and above. This makes it the only province in Canada to do so, as the others have a separate legal age for marijuana activities set to 19 years old.

Recreational users and patients will be allowed to use, possess, purchase, and cultivate marijuana plants when they reach this legal age. Any resident under 18 years old who is caught using or possessing marijuana over 5 grams may be subject to criminal and felony charges! Anything below the limit of 5 grams is ignored and instead given fair warnings.

Adults who are responsible for minors possessing and using marijuana are likewise subject to a set of penalties and fines, depending on the given circumstances.

Purchasing locations and possession limits:

There are two (2) main sources for cannabis in Alberta: you can purchase them from either a government-owned dispensary or from privately-owned companies. This applies to both physical and online shops, provided that these distributors are fully licensed with the AGLC.

The possession limits for adults who are aged 18 years old and above is set to 30 grams at a given period. Moreover, 30 grams per transaction is also the allotted limit for residents who purchase recreational cannabis from any authorized source. There is currently no limit to the amount of cannabis that a legally qualified adult is allowed to keep in his/her own private residences.

Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis

Consumption limits:

The general rule for cannabis consumption applies in the province of Alberta: you are allowed to consume cannabis in any place where tobacco and cigarette-smoking is allowed. As such, there are various designated places in public areas where residents and adults may do so.

Consuming marijuana products and smoking weed is strictly banned in places like outdoor parks, public gyms, schools, universities, churches, hospitals (except for authorized marijuana-friendly clinics), or any publicly owned area where people usually gather.

Consuming cannabis on/inside a vehicle, whether moving or parked in a public place, is also strictly prohibited. Doing so will result in a Driving Under Influence (DUI) charge in addition to fines and penalties.

While there are currently no smoking cafes and social lounges present in Alberta, lawmakers are currently looking to amend the policies and allow the establishment of such. Additionally, there may be lodging establishments (such as hotels) that offer marijuana-friendly policies. Your best bet would be to consume cannabis privately in your own homes.

Cannabis cultivation:

All weed seeds that you will use for the cultivation of marijuana plants must be obtained only from licensed weed distributors and marijuana seed banks. Residents and patients, along with the patient’s caregivers, are allowed to grow and cultivate up to four (4) marijuana plants at a given time.

All cannabis plants that you are growing must be kept hidden from the public’s view. Additionally, these must be enclosed in an area where the public cannot access it.

Alberta has certainly drawn some attention with regards to how it deals with the different aspects of its cannabis industry. As the province houses one of the biggest territories in the country of Canada, the dense population has surely found a way to make use of its thriving cannabis scene.

Alberta is also very tourist-friendly with regards to its cannabis scenes. For anyone who wishes to go to Canada in order to avail of the amazing cannabis scenes found there, Alberta is definitely one place to consider!