With the impending legalization of marijuana on Canada Day, Saskatchewan says cannabis will be distributed by private retailers and regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
The initial allocation of retail store permits will be in municipalities and First Nations whose population is at least 2,500, with larger communities being allocated additional permits.
In Regina, a cap of six retailers operating at one time has been put in place for now.
The retailers must be standalone businesses and sell only cannabis and cannabis accessories.
Gene Makowsky, Minister responsible for SLGA, says private sale of cannabis makes much more financial sense for the Province.
“I would sooner, I think we can say as a government and as an MLA personally, those tens of millions of dollars that would be required up front, I would rather see those go towards schools, highways and roads in our province.”
Makowsky says certain areas will be given one or more retail permits available for bid based on population.
“Initially we said 2,500, we wanted to restrict it so there’s ample opportunity for SLGA to go through the permitting process, but also serve a large part of the province,” Makowsky says. “I believe with this list of communities we have 70% of the province is being served directly by a retail location.”
The private retailers will need to apply for the permits, proving financial capacity, and their ability to track and report inventory, then moving on to a lottery system to disperse the retail permits.