First-come first-serve for Red Deer’s 35 cannabis retail licences

Starting July 11, interested businesses can get their application started

Retailers hoping to open up some of the first cannabis stores in Red Deer will have to line up for the finite number of permits.

Starting at 8 a.m. on July 11, businesses interested in opening a cannabis retail store can submit their development permit applications to the City.

Gord’s Smoke Shop won’t be one of the businesses lining up for the permits. Nicole Raffa, Gord’s Smoke Shop manager, said they considered becoming one of the city’s first legal marijuana retailers, but it wouldn’t work out for them.

“We had looked into an application and we considered what we would have to do,” said Raffa. “But when Red Deer laid out their bylaw, it pretty well made it impossible for us to do it at our location. We’re next to a liquor establishment and we sell tobacco. There were several factors.”

The applications will be accepted on the first floor of City Hall, 4914 48th Ave., on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“The City of Red Deer carefully considered the federal and provincial recommendations, as well as the community’s contributions, as we developed the Land Use Bylaw,” said Erin Stuart, Red Deer inspections and licensing manager. “We are now ready to begin accepting development permit applications for cannabis retail stores that meet the requirements of this bylaw.”

The new bylaw caps the number of retail locations in Red Deer at 35.

Retailers hoping to sell cannabis will have to obtain a development permit and a business licence from the city before opening for business. The application will be reviewed to ensure it adheres to the bylaw and the business will be built in an acceptable land district and the appropriate distances from other cannabis retailers as well as schools, the hospital, recreation facilities and daycares.

Although the applications will be accepted, no permits will be issued until Oct. 17, when the recreational marijuana is legal across Canada.

Potential businesses must also include documents such as a letter of intent and proof of eligibility from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

The development application form and a full list of required documents can be found on the City’s website at or in person at the Inspections and Licensing department in City Hall.

Applications must be submitted in person and will not be accepted by email.

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