Your Guide to Recreational Cannabis in Calgary

Your Guide to Recreational Cannabis in Calgary on Where Rockies

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As of October 17, it has been one year since recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada. In a country that was well known for cannabis use long before legalization (insert joke about the leaf on our flag here), life hasn’t changed too drastically, but the process of seeing what works and what doesn’t is still very much underway.

If you’re interested in using legal cannabis, there are a few things you need to know. Most importantly, rules and regulations for recreational cannabis use vary by province and by city. While there are some federal laws governing criminal offences such as driving under the influence or providing cannabis to minors, provincial and municipal governments are responsible for rules about public consumption, minimum age, retail regulations and more — so make sure you know what’s acceptable before lighting up in a new place.

On October 17, 2019, cannabis edibles and topicals become legal. Edibles are cannabis-infused products that you can eat, such as candy, beverages, baked goods and dissolvable strips, while topicals are cannabis-infused products that can be absorbed through the skin, such as lotions, balms and oils. Due to the approvals process that manufacturers will need to undergo, edibles and topicals won’t be available to purchase until mid-December at the earliest.

Anyone over the age of 18 in Alberta and Quebec or over 19 in the rest of Canada, including Canadians and visitors from other countries, can use recreational cannabis provided they follow laws and regulations. Cannabis use by minors is strictly prohibited, and minors may not enter cannabis retail locations. The maximum amount that can be purchased and carried for recreational use is 30 grams.

Cannabis can be purchased online at, which is operated by the provincial government. It can also be purchased at licensed retail outlets in various forms suitable for smoking and vaping. While the City of Calgary website does have a map of cannabis retail locations, it doesn’t list store names — simply searching “cannabis stores” on Google Maps is more effective. Prominent chains with multiple locations in Calgary include Four20 Premium Market, NewLeaf Cannabis, Fire & Flower Cannabis Co and Co-op Cannabis.

It is legal to smoke, vape or otherwise consume cannabis on private property. The property owner may choose to restrict cannabis use on their property, meaning that it can be forbidden by landlord/tenant agreements or condo bylaws.

Festivals and events in Calgary can receive permission to provide a designated cannabis consumption area, similar to beer gardens. These will be open air, fenced off zones for 18+ only.

It is illegal to consume recreational cannabis in public places, though medical cannabis may be smoked or vaped in public places that are allowed under both municipal and provincial rules. Cannabis may not be used at any cannabis retail outlets.

Using cannabis in vehicles (moving or stationary) is not permitted, and it cannot be within reach of anyone in a vehicle. Smoking lounges, cafes or specialized bars for cannabis are not permitted, though this has the potential to change in coming years.

It is legal to bring recreational cannabis on domestic flights within Canada as long as it does not exceed 30 grams. It can be stowed in carry-on or checked luggage. Cannabis oil is subject to the liquid restrictions — a 100 ml (3.4 oz) or smaller container is permitted in carry-on.

It is illegal to bring cannabis (recreational or medical) in or out of Canada on international flights or by any other method of crossing the border, even if you are travelling to or from another country with legalized or decriminalized cannabis.

Rachael Frey