With the legalization of cannabis set to arrive in Canada in less than two weeks, only 17 stores provincewide, including two in Calgary, have secured an interim license to receive shipments and sell pot.

Officials with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), formerly known as the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, confirm interim cannabis licenses have been issued to 17 retailers in Alberta ahead of the date of legalization. The approved stores are authorized to order and receive cannabis shipments and legally sell cannabis beginning October 17.

The two licensed stores in Calgary are:

  • Nova Cannabis at Willow Park  (#252, 10816 Macleod Trail S.E.)
  • 420 Premium Market (D290, 9737 Macleod Trail S.W.)

In addition to the Calgary retailers, the AGLC has approved stores in:

  • Edmonton (six stores)
  • Medicine Hat (three stores)
  • Fort Saskatchewan (two stores)
  • Stony Plain
  • Spruce Grove
  • Devon
  • St. Albert

“We will continue to license retailers at a steady pace in the days and months following,” explained Dave Berry, AGLC’s vice-president of regulatory services, in a statement released Thursday. “In addition, Albertans of legal age will also have access to our online store at albertacannabis.org.”

The province expects to see upwards of 250 stores operating across the province within the first 12 months of legalized cannabis.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says there is no firm cap on the number of cannabis stores but mandatory separation distances will naturally limit the number of retailers in Calgary. 

“We’ve chosen to let the market decide on cannabis retail,” said Nenshi. “I don’t know if Calgary will be able to maintain the number of applications that we’ve seen, well over 100 applications for the City of Calgary, but ultimately the market will decide. People who wish to purchase that product will determine if they’d rather do it online or if they have certain retailers that they support.”

Nenshi adds that there is currently a massive backlog of applications before the subdivision development appeals board and he questions the motives of those that are slowing the process. "It's a shame that some people seem to have weaponized the subdivision appeals board against their competitors but we'll sort through all of that. Over the next few months this stuff will all shake out."

To see the complete list of the 17 licensed retailers visit Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.