Tobacco and Cannabis smoking in Banff
In Alberta, each municipality is responsible for setting regulations about cannabis use and retail. All communities are governed by Alberta's legislation on smoking/vaping cannabis and tobacco, but each community can impose further restrictions.
Every individual is responsible for determining the local laws and provincial legislation about possession, consumption, growing and selling/buying cannabis.
It is a privilege to visit and live in Banff, a small town in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Canada's first national park. With that privilege comes the responsibility to ensure the time spent here is enjoyable for everyone. In Banff, all community members share in the responsibility to create an exceptional experience and refrain from activities that could diminish the quality of the visit, especially for children. Our community aims to promote our clean, pristine mountain air as part of that visitor experience.
Smoking/vaping tobacco ban
Smoking or vaping of tobacco and nicotine products is not allowed in most public places in the Town of Banff. Smoking is permitted in back alleys and parking lots, with some restrictions. See full information on the smoke-free bylaw.
No smoking/vaping cannabis in public places
The Town of Banff prohibits smoking and vaping of cannabis in public places, just as the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public places. This means smoking or vaping of cannabis is prohibited in these locations:
- sidewalks, trails and paths
- streets, alleys and lanes
- parks, forests and green spaces
- public structures or street furniture
Smoking or vaping cannabis is prohibited in town of Banff public places by the Street and and Public Place Use Bylaw. (see frequently requested bylaws)
Smoking on private property
Smoking cannabis will be allowed on private property, subject to provincial restrictions or property policies. Banff residents and guests must ensure they comply with any smoking policies set by property owners (such as hotel operators, staff accommodation managers, condominium boards, and apartment managers).
Property owners and managers are responsible for setting policies allowing or prohibiting smoking or vaping of cannabis in their premises. A property may have different rules about tobacco and cannabis, which requires a clear policy.
Banff restrictions on public smoking or vaping of cannabis do not apply to authorized medical use.
Cannabis Use in the National Park
Parks Canada has developed guidelines within national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas that are consistent with relevant provincial/territorial cannabis legislation. In Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay, the relevant Province of Alberta and British Columbia legislation and regulations will apply.
In Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks, in accordance with Alberta and British Columbia provincial laws on cannabis use:
- Public consumption in day use areas and on trails is permitted.
- In Parks Canada’s campgrounds, cannabis consumption will be limited to a visitor’s campsite (with a valid camping permit). It’s important to note that public consumption is not permitted in common areas within campgrounds (e.g. playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, roads). This is similar to the approach Parks Canada follows for other regulated substances, like alcohol.
- The Town of Banff passed bylaws that prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in all public places.
- Public consumption within townsites administered by Parks Canada, including Lake Louise and Field, is permitted.
Visitors and stakeholders are encouraged to inform themselves on the applicable provincial laws and municipal bylaws regarding cannabis use in Alberta and British Columbia.
View more information about cannabis consumption at Parks Canada places.
Provincial Legislation - Smoking/Vaping Tobacco or Cannabis
Alberta legislation prohibits smoking or vaping cannabis in all the places where tobacco smoking is banned under the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.
Smoking is prohibited in a “public place,” defined as all or any part of a building, structure or other enclosed area to which members of the public have access as or right or by express or implied invitation, including:
- the common areas of a multi-unit residential facility, including patios, pools, or other recreation areas and enclosed parking garages,
- a group living facility
- an outdoor bus or taxi shelter
- licensed premises
- a restaurant, and
- a hotel
- in a workplace
- in a vehicle in which a minor is present
- in a public vehicle, or
- within 5 metres from a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workplace
In addition, in an effort to protect children and limit second-hand exposure, public smoking or vaping of cannabis in Alberta is prohibited in the following places:
- on any hospital property, school property or child care facility property
- in or within a prescribed distance from:
- a playground
- a sports or playing field
- a skateboard or bicycle park
- a zoo
- an outdoor theatre
- an outdoor pool or splash pad
- from any motor vehicles, with the exception of those being used as a temporary residences, such as a parked RV
There is no consumption of cannabis allowed at any cannabis retail outlets.
Learn more from the Alberta Government website including information about selling and growing cannabis, and drug-impaired driving.
The Government of Canada has passed The Cannabis Act to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis. The legislation comes into effect on October 17, 2018.
After October 17, the new federal legislation will, 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 federal legislation aims to:
- better prevent youth from accessing cannabis
- displace the illegal cannabis market
- protect public health and safety with product quality and safety requirements for cannabis
Find details on Government of Canada Cannabis law.
Background information – Banff bylaws
- June 11, 2018: Council gave three readings to Bylaw 396 Streets and Public Place Use - Amendment No. 4 in order to prohibit the smoking or vaping of cannabis in public. Council Report and Bylaw Amendment (PDF)
- May 14, 2018: Report to Governance and Finance Committee on Changes to Legislation Regarding Cannabis (PDF). Includes results of Town of Banff public survey.
- The updated Street and Public Place Use Bylaw prohibits cannabis smoking or vaping.