Cannabis retail stores

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Land use rules for cannabis retail stores:

At a public hearing held on July 16th, 2018, City Council voted to adopt rules for cannabis retail stores.

icon_PDFView adopted rules (Bylaw 4487) for cannabis retail stores in Medicine Hat

icon_PDFView Cannabis Retail Store Overlay Boundary figures

  View Council highlights - July 16, 2018


A Cannabis Retail Store is defined in the City of Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw No. 4168 as: 

A development used for the retail sale of Cannabis that is authorized by provincial or federal legislation.  This use may include the retail sale of cannabis accessories as approved by the AGLC.  This use does not include Cannabis Production and Distribution Facility or Cannabis Lounge.

A cannabis store must be a stand-alone use, which means it cannot be combined with another use, such as a convenience store; however, cannabis stores can occur in a multi-tenant building or as part of a mixed-use development so long as all the physical requirements of a site meet the AGLC regulations

There are a number of steps
for determining whether a specific location may allow for the development of a Cannabis Retail Store.

1.  The first step is to ensure that a potential location is within the icon_PDFCannabis Retail Store Overlay boundary

2.  The second step is to ensure that the location meets the separation distance requirements of the Overlay.  The rules of the Overlay state that:

Cannabis retail stores must be located at least 100 m from:

•  A hospital
  A school
  A public library
  A recreation facility

Cannabis retail stores must be located at least 25 m from:

  An emergency shelter
  An addiction treatment and recovery centre
  A community health service
  A day care facility
  A public playground

It is important to note that there could be situations where a location is within an Overlay boundary; however, the location is within a setback distance required by the Overlay, thus prohibiting the development of a Cannabis Retail Store.  In other words, if a location is within the Overlay boundary, but it is located within one of the prescribed separation distances listed above, a Cannabis Retail Store would be prohibited.

For questions about locational rules, or to determine whether your location meets the requirements, contact us before submitting an application (contact info below).

3.  Additional steps must be taken to ensure that other requirements of the Overlay are met by a location, and also that a location meets the requirements of a provincial license.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design:

The Overlay requires that when choosing a potential location an applicant consider the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) by ensuring that the site:

a)  provides for natural surveillance of the exterior of the Cannabis Retail Store from public areas,

b)  ensures that landscaping does not impact natural surveillance of the exterior of a Cannabis Retail Store,

c)  ensures that the main public entrance to the Cannabis Retail Store is clearly marked and provides for natural surveillance,

d)  provides security lighting in strategic locations,

e)  provides security cameras and signage in strategic locations,

f)  uses pathways, signs, landscaping and hardscaping to clearly identify property lines and areas of a site that are designated as off-limits to the public,

g)  maintains landscaping and lighting, keeping the site free of garbage and graffiti, and repairing damaged or unsafe buildings and structures; and,

h)  limits opportunities for loitering.

If it is determined that a characteristic of a specific site might pose a safety concern based on CPTED principles, an application may be refused, unless an adequate remedy to the concern can be proposed.

Parking and other requirements:
Parking requirements, building setbacks and other regulations that a Cannabis Retail Store are subject to will be equal to the requirements of the land use district in which it is located.  Parking regulations can be viewed in Section 5.4 of the Land Use Bylaw No. 4168.  To find other requirements refer to the land use district in the Land Use Bylaw.

It will be likely that a proposal for a cannabis retail store will include installation of a sign.  An application for development of a Cannabis Retail Store can be accompanied with information detailing any signs that will be installed as part of the proposal.

  For more information about commercial signage, visit Signs.
  icon_PDFSigns Checklist available for download

Requirements of the AGLC:
Please ensure that your location meets all the various requirements of the AGLC.

The first step to opening a cannabis retail store is to make application to the AGLC to determine your eligibility for receiving a license to retail cannabis. Contact AGLC.

The City may require that this step be performed prior to making application to the City for a Development Permit.  To make an application to the AGLC, one must choose a desired location. Review Where can stores be located, above.

The City of Medicine Hat began accepting Development Permit applications for Cannabis Retail Stores on July 23rd, 2018. To receive municipal land use approvals to operate a Cannabis Retail Store, one must submit a development permit application for review and decision.  A Cannabis Retail Store is a discretionary use; therefore, an application will be subject to circulation, review, advertisement, decision by the Municipal Planning Commission, and possibly be subject to an appeal.

The following outlines the process for making a Development Permit application:

1.  Pre-application meeting:  It is recommended that a potential applicant schedule a pre-application meeting with Planning & Development Services (phone 403.529.8374) to ensure that an application package is complete.  This will increase the efficiency of the review and decision.  If there is no opportunity for an applicant to meet with staff at City Hall, please contact us for assistance in determining whether your application is complete prior to making a submission.

Contact: Jim Genge, Senior Planner
Ph. 403.525.8838

2.  Submit complete application to Planning & Development Services: The following links make up an application package for a Cannabis Retail Store.

a.  Standard Development Permit Application: This is a form that is required for all Development Permit applications.  It provides the City with general information from the applicant and the nature of the proposal.

b.  Development Permit Checklist: This checklist is to be used to by an applicant to ensure an application is complete.  It is used by applicants to check off requirements for an application, fill in blank spaces with additional information, provide supplementary information as needed, and sign and submit the checklist along with all other information.  If the development proposal includes the installation of a sign(s), information for the proposed sign(s) may be combined with an application for a Cannabis Retail Store.  Refer to the sign application checklist to submit information on signs associated with the Cannabis Retail Store.

c.  Land Owner Consent: This requirement is listed on the development permit checklist.  An applicant may use this form, or a similar letter from the land owner may be submitted to satisfy this requirement.

A building permit may be required for cannabis stores as per provincial regulations. It is recommended that an applicant seek assistance from a Safety Codes Officer within Planning & Development Services (contact info below).

The following are some examples of when a building permit might be required:

  The proposal changes the classification of the building/space.
  For the secure storage room which must be built to comply with provincial cannabis licence rules.
  Construction is being proposed, including structural or partition wall changes, mechanical, plumbing, gas or electrical work.
  The mechanical equipment needs to be upgraded to meet building code due to a change in use.
  You are the first tenant in a space.
  There is a change to mechanical ventilation equipment or new equipment being installed.
  There is a change to the occupant load.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that any construction work required to adhere to provincial cannabis licencing regulations has the appropriate building permit.

Occupancy inspection

City inspections are part of the building permit process. They are intended to ensure safety and compliance with all relevant bylaws and safety codes. The City ensures the minimum construction safety standards are met. Your building permit is not complete until your work has passed all required inspections.

Safety codes officers verify that your completed work meets safety standards and they can assist if you have encountered problems with your project. Having permits approved and completed allows future buyers to verify that your work was inspected by The City.

icon_PDFApplication for Occupancy 

Contractors - Book and coordinate inspections by phoning the inspection line: 403.529-8208.

Zane Deroches, Commercial Safety Codes Officer
Ph. 403.529.8207

On August 21, 2018, City Council approved amendments (by Bylaw 4495) to the existing City of Medicine Hat Business Licence Bylaw No. 2339.

icon_PDFBusiness License application form

Annual Business License fee for Cannabis Retail Store (2019): $1071.00 

View all current fees (Planning & Development Services)

For further information, contact:
Henry Claussen, License Inspector
Ph. 403.529.8135


Provincial License information

Businesses who want to sell cannabis in the Province of Alberta must have a retail cannabis licence issued by the AGLC. Information on this process can be found on the AGLC website.  Provincial licensing applications are not administered through The City of Medicine Hat.

See current fee schedule for specific costs. Prices below do not include GST.

Development permit fee(s):

  Change of Use – Discretionary Use:  $217.30
  Variance (per item if required):  $362.15
  Title Search (if you want the City to obtain a Land Title Certificate for you):  $22.25 

Building permit fee(s):

Contact: Zane Desroches, Commercial Safety Codes Officer
Ph. 403.529.8207

Business licence fee:

  Cannabis retail store (2019):  $1071.00 



The City of Medicine Hat created a public survey, available from February 1 to March 14, 2018, to allow residents to express their thoughts and help shape future cannabis policies in the city. Thank you to the residents of Medicine Hat and area for participating in this survey. The survey is now closed.

In addition, at the Sunshine Home and Garden Show in March, 2018, Planning & Development Services teamed up with staff from Community Development to share information about the cannabis legislation and to hear what the people of Medicine Hat had to say. 

icon_PDFView trade show displays

icon_PDFView survey results


Questions? Contact:
Jim Genge, Senior Planner
City of Medicine Hat
Ph. 403.525.8838