While many questions still linger over the issue of legalizing marijuana in Canada and in Saskatchewan, at least one Regina business owner wonders how the entire scenario will eventually pan out.
The province announced a week ago cannabis will be sold through licensed private retailers in centres in Saskatchewan.
Regulation will be handled by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
Dean Foster is the owner of Natural Healing Clinic in Regina.
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He says there are so many unanswered questions regarding the July 1st date the federal government has set.
“I do not believe that they are prepared – the government of Saskatchewan, nor the government of Canada,” Foster told 620 CKRM News. “I just don’t think they want to hear from the right people. They’re not really addressing people who are in the business right now.”
Foster says while his business is not a mediicinal marijuana dispensary, he has communicated with dispensaries who have said they have not received any notice to close down their operations.
Foster says he’s concerned over the amount of money it will cost toshutter medical marijuana dispensaries which exist in Regina now.
“The local authorities all know they are here,” Foster said. “They could save the government billions of dollars by sending out a cease-and-desist order. Like, you have 30 days to close down, or we’re going to close you down.”
Foster says it’s frustrating no plan has been established to eliminate the dozens dispensaries in Saskatchewan. He says the government likely will simply “eliminate” them, despite many of the dispensaries paying taxes to all levels of government.
“It will take some real fast work for it to happen,” Foster said. “The way they have said it is there will be six privatized dispensaries in Regina. For them to get rid of the 10 or 12 other (medical marijuana) dispensaries — I don’t know how they’re going to do it. Can you just knock out exisiting businesses? There are too many. And there is too short of time to figure this out.”
Foster expressed concern even speaking out on this issue might put a target on his back.
“We are not a dispensary,” Foster maintained. “We are a wellness clinic that treats people with opioid addictions and helps them to get off their opioid addictions. We are not a dispensary.”
Last week, Regina mayor Michael Fougere said city administration is developing its own regulatory framework and will investigate zoning, licensing and policing issues.