The Saskatchewan Government has named the 51 successfully qualified applicants to sell cannabis across the province.
“This represents the next step in the process of having a privately-operated cannabis retail system carefully regulated by SLGA,” Minister Responsible for SLGA Gene Makowsky said in a news release. “There was a lot of interest in the public Request for Proposal process, resulting in many new businesses that will invest in our province.”
The successful proponents were selected through a two phase Request for Proposal (RFP) process that began in March. The first phase involved a screening for qualifications focused on financial and sales/inventory tracking systems. All those that qualified entered the second phase of the process which was a lottery draw to select the successful operators. KPMG was engaged to provide oversight and monitor the entire RFP process.
Makowsky said there is a backup plan in case the applicant selected after round one does not pass round two.
“We also picked, through the lottery process, a runner-up in case somebody fails to get the required permit because of whatever reason, likely good character, there are runners-up.”
The successful proponents have 45 days to begin the permitting process. As a condition of their permit, retail cannabis permittee must be operating within 12 months of legalization. Permits will not take effect until legalization occurs.
SLGA CEO Cam Swan said with marijuana shops already open in centres like Regina and Saskatoon, it’s considered a municipal concern.
“I think overall, between justice, police, and SLGA, and the actual municipality, we have a responsibility overall to ensure that businesses are operating legally, so in our view, that’s a police matter more than SLGA.”
Cannabis retail stores must be standalone operations, selling only cannabis, cannabis accessories and ancillary items as defined by SLGA. Alcohol sales will not be permitted in cannabis stores. Cannabis retail locations are subject to local municipal zoning bylaws.
Marijuana is still expected to be legalized across Canada on July 1st.
A list of the approved retailers can be found here: Cannabis