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Cannabis Use and Sale in Banff

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis, which is expected to come into effect in summer 2018. Among other things, it would allow adults to possess a limited amount of legally produced cannabis. 

Currently Cannabis is an illegal substance (with the exception of authorized medical use) under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The proposed federal legislation would, among other things:

  • allow adults to possess a limited amount of legally-produced cannabis; 
  • set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18 years of age, with the option for provinces to increase the age limit; 
  • enable regulations for the licensed production of cannabis, which would be controlled by the federal government; 
  • and, enable regulations for the distribution and sale of cannabis, which would be controlled by the provincial government.

The Government of Alberta is currently working on provincial legislation to provide authority for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to carry out oversight and compliance functions as well as manage the distribution of cannabis. The proposed legislation will: 
  • establish the authority to carry out public online sales
  • establish the authority to license privately owned and operated cannabis stores with strong oversight and province wide rules 
  • establish provincial offences related to youth possession, public consumption and consumption of cannabis in vehicles
  • Learn more from the Alberta Government

Municipalities are responsible for land use regulations on sales, and use in public places, such as greenspace and streets. 

Banff is unique—a municipality within a national park. Changes to provincial legislation that will allow for licensed, privately owned and operated cannabis stores will not automatically apply here. A separate process called the Instruments of Entrustment, which requires consent from the Minister of Environment through Parks Canada, may be required. Also noteworthy, the town is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in recognition of its outstanding natural and cultural value to humanity. Canada has pledged to conserve and protect all its World Heritage Sites for future generations. 

The Town is exploring what the changes to federal and provincial laws regarding cannabis mean to our national park community and is proactively taking measures to respond to the needs of the community. 

Additional Information:

Town of Banff