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Cannabis and Zoning FAQ

Retail Cannabis Stores

Updated May 2021

On October 17, 2018, federal legislation and provincial legislation began allowing the legal sale and use of cannabis for non-medicinal (recreational) purpose.

On June 25th City Council approved Bylaw 6123 which amends Land Use Bylaw 5700 in order to allow the development of 'Retail Cannabis Stores' in our community. 

The new rules provide a definition for 'Retail Cannabis Stores', sets out several development rules (including a rule that Retail Cannabis Stores must be a minimum 100m from schools, future schools, and hospitals) and would allow the stores as permitted uses in the five most common Commercial districts in the city.  

To get an idea of where (approximately) Retail Cannabis Stores would not be allowed because they may be too close to a school, future school, or hospital you can check out these maps Separation Mapping – Retail Cannabis Stores.

To learn more about applying for a Development Permit for a Retail Cannabis Store see
"NEW RULES FOR RETAIL CANNABIS STORES" on our Development Services Advisories page.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes

Federal legislation allows only two methods of obtaining cannabis for medical purposes (medical marijuana).  A person who has a prescription for medical cannabis may grow a limited number of plants for their personal use or may designate someone else to grow them.  Alternatively, a person must obtain their prescribed cannabis from a federally 'Licensed Producer' who ships the product directly to them by mail.  No other dispensing/distribution method, such as 'compassion clubs' or 'medical marijuana dispensaries', is allowed.  
The City of Lethbridge cannot issue a development permit for a compassion club or a dispensary or any type of storefront selling cannabis for medical purposes. 

Commercial Cannabis Production

Federal legislation also governs the large scale commercial production of legal cannabis.  Currently there are 111 Licensed Producers in Canada, seven of them in Alberta.  Under Land Use Bylaw 5700 Licensed Producers are considered "Manufacturing, Intensive".  This is allowed only in the I-H (Heavy Industrial) district and in the I-G (General Industrial) district.

For more detailed information, contact:
Planning and Design
403-320-3920 or