Commercial cannabis production is a very mature industry in Canada. Over 100 Alberta licensees registered under the Cannabis Act are involved in different aspects from seed and nursery development to cultivation, processing, and medical and recreational production.  On the retail side, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) oversees 700 storefronts in the province.

Regulatory requirements are much more predictable now than in the early years. Third-party advisor fees are also more cost-effective as Health Canada’s expectations are now well-established. Entrepreneurs and startups can largely navigate entry into the industry with these third-party consultants to guide them through the licensing process.

Production licensing is federally regulated under the Cannabis Act, which provides the following license classes:

  • Cultivation – separated among micro-cultivation, standard cultivation, and nursery licenses;
  • Processing – micro-processing and standard processing licenses;
  • Sale – licenses to possess, sell, and distribute cannabis products;
  • Analytical Testing;
  • License for Research; and
  • Cannabis Drug License.

The recreational retail sector is regulated at the provincial level. Alberta retailers must have a provincial permit from the AGLC and approval from the municipality to operate.

Canada Cannabis Lawyer

The application process involves:

  • The business to be formed or extra-provincially registered in Alberta, operating solely for retail cannabis, and with a signed lease or certificate of title,
  • All individuals with any influence or control over the day-to-day operations or who have decision-making authority must pass extensive AGLC financial background checks, and
  • For the purposes of municipal approval, the retail site must comply with zoning and setback requirements, and possess certain minimum security and accessibility features.

In the early days of the cannabis industry, lawyers charged exorbitant fees to help clients figure out the regulatory regime in lock-step with their clients.  Today, there is much more consistency and transparency about Health Canada’s requirements, and non-lawyer consultants can guide licensees at much more cost-effective prices.  Nevertheless, cannabis-specialized lawyers can help producers, retailers, distributors, and investors with the corporate-commercial dimensions of their business, including:

  • Initial Fundraising and Corporate Formation;
  • Corporate Governance and Policy Development;
  • Leasing and Land Sales;
  • Regulatory Compliance; and
  • Commercial Contracts with suppliers and customers.

Cannabis Legal Representation

Gusto Law has a proven track record of success and has delivered unparalleled legal representation to several Alberta-based cannabis clients, helping them to balance the use of lawyers and expert advisors:

True North Cannabis: represented the hemp CBD producer with initial funding and regulatory compliance during its transition from an MMPR designated growing to Cannabis Act licensee.

Supernova Farms: represented the expanding micro-cultivator in initial formation, leasing, corporate governance, and fundraising matters.

Calgary-based Cannabis Retailer: acted on behalf of a retailer applying for and obtaining approval for zoning set-back exemptions.

Flexible fee structures with Gusto Law

Gusto Law takes a flexible and transparent approach to cannabis sector work, offering the following fee arrangements:

  • Ad hoc hourly rates: hire as required
  • Flat-rate fee: know exactly what the work on a particular project will cost
  • A fixed weekly or monthly rate: to cover a certain number of hours

Get help with cannabis law matters in Calgary

If you would like to discuss your needs, schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

Get help with cannabis law matters in Calgary

If you would like to discuss your needs, schedule a free 20-minute consultation.

This webpage’s content has been prepared to provide a general overview of certain legal services offered by Gusto Law, and is not intended to be an exhaustive legal analysis. It is not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon for any particular transaction, proceeding or circumstance. The information is provided as of the date set out below, and thus the reader is cautioned that changes or developments in the law, or its interpretation, may have occurred since that time. If you are forming a new business, please seek further individual consultation with Gusto Law.

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I have been a client of Gus Lu for 3 years for both personal and business matters. He has been involved with share purchase agreements that required negotiating with the seller, doing the paperwork, and ensuring that things were kept on track with any necessary reminders — to both parties as I have been known to procrastinate. His polite insistence on getting what I needed to be ensured that the other parties knew that we meant business — while maintaining good relationships. I really appreciate the patience he shows when I want to understand every bit of legalese — I can count on him to clearly explain matters. Mr. Lu’s lawyerly skill at stating things in a tactful and concise manner has helped me out in many of my business communications and documents. I very much appreciate how Gus would always deal with my requests in a prompt and friendly manner. He truly made me feel cared for and supported in any dealings with him.

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October 2021

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September 2021

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