"Municipalities will have the option to opt out of having a cannabis store if they choose
The Saskatchewan government has announced marijuana will be sold by roughly 60 private companies after legalization. (Photo courtesy of Allan Ziolkowski)
The Saskatchewan government has announced marijuana will be sold by private companies after the drug is federally legalized.
'It's an ill-defined market right now. We're not sure what the future of that is going to be.' - Gene Makowsky, minister responsible for SLGA
Gene Makowsky, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), said the move was made under a tough deadline. The federal government is pushing for a legalization date of July 1.
"The federal government has established very aggressive timelines for the legalization of cannabis," Makowsky said.
"Our government is being diligent to ensure the sale and regulation of cannabis in Saskatchewan strikes a balance between public safety and access for consumers."
Under the new rules, SLGA will issue about 60 retail permits to private stores located in roughly 40 municipalities and First Nations across the province.
While a recent online survey commissioned by the province showed 45 per cent of respondents would like to see SLGA run the stores, Makowsky said the government wasn't interested in spending millions of dollars in setting up the infrastructure needed to sell marijuana.
"It de-risks the taxpayer, certainly," he said.
"It's an ill-defined market right now. We're not sure what the future of that is going to be."
Makowsky said the province would still make money from taxation and licensing fees, although those details have not been sorted out yet.
Municipalities will have the option to opt out of having a cannabis store if they choose. Saskatoon will be given the option of having seven licences, while Regina will receive six and smaller cities such as Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Lloydminster will receive two."...
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