Sask. to phase-in open market for cannabis retailers

Saskatchewan is moving forward with a phased-in open market system when allocating cannabis retail permits next spring.

The province says the supply of cannabis for permitted retailers will continue to come from permitted wholesalers and federally licensed producers registered in Saskatchewan.

“A year has passed since legalization and most of the initial retailers are now serving customers in their communities,” Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority Gene Makowsky said in a release.  “We’ve also had the opportunity to consider how Saskatchewan should proceed in the future.  We believe opening the market to more retailers will help meet customer demand while also helping discourage competition from unlicensed stores.”

Starting in April, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will accept applications for cannabis retail permits in communities with populations less than 2,500. Proponents will also be able to apply for permits in communities that were previously identified as eligible for permits but did not proceed.

In September 2020, the SLGA will accept permit applications for stores in all communities, with the option for municipalities to opt out. Interested businesses and individuals will continue to be required to meet SLGA’s permitting requirements including a good character check, inventory tracking and store security.  Applicants will also need to meet local municipal requirements, including zoning.

Makowsky added the phase-in approach is a balanced approach that will allow existing retailers to continue to operate and grow their customer base while facilitating opportunities for store openings in smaller communities.

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