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Cannabis Retail in Banff
Storefront Retail in Banff

Banff Town Council approved a Land Use Bylaw amendment to allow storefront cannabis retail as a Discretionary Use in the Downtown Land Use District. The amended bylaw aligns with provincial restrictions, such as requiring that any storefront retail must be 100 metres away from a health facility or school. In addition, specific requirements for retail operations in Banff include:

  • retail stores must be 100 metres away from a daycare or playground,
  • retail stores must be 30 metres apart from each other (to avoid clusters of stores), and
  • retail stores cannot have a window or windows facing onto a sidewalk or lane (in alignment with AGLC requirements).

As Banff is in a national park, the change to the Land Use Bylaw on retail stores has to be approved by Parks Canada. In order for the Provincial legislation to apply in Banff, a separate process may be required called an Instrument of Entrustment. If required, this could occur in the fall of 2018.

Municipal Permits

In addition to provincial licences, in order to operate Storefront Cannabis Retail in Banff, a Development Permit for a change of use is required along with a valid Business Licence. For internal building changes, a Building Permit may also be required.

In order to have an open and clear Development Permit application process for Storefront Cannabis Retail the following has been proposed:

 Start Receiving Applications   Opening day of the application process, likely November 1, 2018 (contingent on Parks Canada Approval).
 4 Week Application Window   Minimum 4 week application window. This will be advertised in a local paper for 2 consecutive weeks as well as being advertised on Banff.ca and social media. Advertisements will include the information needed to deem an application complete. Applicants will be able to schedule a meeting with a Development Planner to discuss their proposed application prior to submission.
 Application Window Closes   Initial application window closes. Any applications received after this date will be processed in the order they are received once the other applications are processed.
 Application Review   Preliminary application review to determine if application is complete and if proposed location conflicts with other applications. Applications deemed incomplete will be given 2 weeks to supply required information.
 Process Order Draw   Should any application be within 30 metres of another application, a random selection draw of all complete applications would be conducted to determine the order the applications will be processed.
 Application Processing    Applications will be processed as any other Discretionary Change of Use application with the additional advertising requirements specific to Storefront Cannabis Retail.
 MPC   Applications will be reviewed by Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) at a regular meeting. Depending on the number of applications and other MPC applications, a special meeting may be set.
 Decision and Notification   As with all applications, notification and advertisement of the decision of MPC will be conducted in the manner required by the Land Use Bylaw. This includes a legislated appeal period where any affected person may appeal the decision.
 Development Permit Issued   Once the appeal period has ended and all outstanding conditions have been met, the Development Permit will be issued.
 Additional Requirements   After the Development Permit has been issued, the applicant will be required to obtain a Town of Banff Business License and a Cannabis Store License from the AGLC prior to operation. Some applications may require a Building Permit to complete necessary building changes.

Provincial legislation

The Government of Alberta’s legislation identifies additional restrictions and authorizes the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) to carry out oversight and compliance functions as well as manage the distribution of cannabis.

The Province: 

  • will be the only authority to sell cannabis online in Alberta
  • will provide permits to privately owned and operated cannabis stores (through AGLC)
  • set offences related to youth possession and public consumption

More Information:

Background information – Banff bylaws:

Town of Banff