Town Council Approves Rules for Future Cannabis-related Businesses in High River

HIGH RIVER, AB: On Monday, May 28, 2018, Council approved bylaw amendments that will enable future retail sales of recreational cannabis in High River.

Currently, non-medical cannabis sale (and possession) remains illegal. Licenses for retail operations will not be issued until cannabis is legalized by the federal government, which is tentatively set for summer 2018. The Town has started accepting applications and issuing development permits for cannabis-related businesses.

“Like it or not, cannabis will be legalized in Canada this year, and our responsibility as a local government has been clearly laid out by the Province,” says Craig Snodgrass, Mayor of High River.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to research, develop and propose ways we can responsibly align ourselves with the federal and provincial governments, while also providing opportunities for businesses to thrive and succeed in our community.”

Council approved new definitions for cannabis in the Land Use Bylaw, including defining the terms “cannabis,” “cannabis store,” “cannabis counselling clinic,” and “cannabis facility.” Council also approved specific districts in the town where cannabis-related businesses and uses may occur, including the required separation distances between each cannabis-related business and sensitive land uses, like schools, early childhood programs, public parks, the hospital, and residential areas.

Under the amended bylaw, cannabis facilities and stores are required to keep a set distance from sensitive land uses. Council, however, granted the removal of any set separation distance from sensitive land uses within the Central Business District (downtown core).

“Removing the separation distances in High River’s downtown core will allow more location opportunities for businesses to set up shop, and less likely for businesses to miss an opportunity here in High River, or cluster in other areas of the town,” says Snodgrass.

Through the applications process, we will be considering proximity between cannabis stores to prevent clustering. The community will also have opportunity to appeal any permit application.

The Town began the extensive process to research, develop and propose regulations around cannabis in early 2018, and will soon begin working on regulations for public consumption. Additionally, Council provided direction to the Town’s Administration to review the current liquor store bylaw for alignment. More details around these will be shared online as they become available.

For more information on cannabis legalization in High River or to apply for a permit, please visit