The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is taking the next step to making marijuana available for sale across the province.
In a statement released Friday morning, the provincial government announced applications will be accepted for wholesale cannabis permits, as well as licensed producer registrations.
Permitted wholesalers will be able to buy weed from federally licensed producers registered to offer their supply to Saskatchewan or others whom are registered suppliers in Saskatchewan. There’s no limit as to the number of wholesale permits and no deadline to apply.
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HIGH INTEREST FOR RETAIL PERMITS
At Friday morning’s scrum at the Legislature, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority Gene Makowsky acknowledged as much, noting 1502 applications were received before the established deadline of April 10th.
Only 51 permits, though, will be distributed throughout 32 communities across Saskatchewan, with six approved for Regina.
Makowsky said they kept it the permit number low intentionally, just to err on the side of caution.
“It’s difficult to say what the market is going to be,” he said. “We’re going into this with not a lot of information as to what the interest might have been at the time. I think we took a reasonable approach, initially, in our first round.”
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Makowsky also noted the first round, known as the initial screening process of the applications, will involve good character checks, as well as tracking systems and examination of an applicants financial capacity.
Applicants who face charges, but have yet to be convicted will be analyzed on a case by case basis.
In response to government, the Official Opposition weren’t too happy.
NDP Critic Nicole Sarauer was pleased by the number of applicants, seeing as a real economic opportunity for local small businesses. What she dismayed her, however, was the lack of clarity as to the timeline of the process.
She said businesses who’ve applied now are forced to play the waiting game until the entire process is complete.
“Again, today, we see a lack of further information,” she stated. “Prospective business owners are left in the dark as to whether or not they’ve been successful in the first round, whether or not they’ll be successful in the lottery and whether or not they’ll be successful in receiving a retail permit.”
“These businesses need to be able to get their infrastructure started, employees hired, spaces leased and still, there’s a lack of information.”