The announcement from Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming (SLGA) last week that there will be approximately 60 cannabis retail permits issued to private operators within up to 40 municipalities and First Nation communities has now made it crucial for community leaders to begin thinking about the next steps that will be taken to prepare for the legalization of cannabis.
The allocation of the retail stores will be in areas that have a population of 2500 or more, with larger centres being allocated additional permits. Martensville will be issued one permit, with Warman receiving two and Saskatoon seven.
“We are of the understanding that it will be SLGA who decides who will be the qualified stores and a lottery will be held to select stores that qualify for the permit,” City of Martensville Community Economic Development Manager Dillon Shewchuk said. Once a vendor is qualified, Shewchuk explained that Council will have three directions to choose from:
– Do not permit sale of marijuana in the community
– Permit sale of marijuana in the community under its own set of guidelines
– Permit and treat sale of marijuana like any other retail
Cannabis retailers will be required to establish a standalone storefront operation, with the option to also operate an online store. “Our Planning Department has had calls about these potential ventures, landlords around the City too have had interest in their spaces/buildings as well,” added Shewchuk.
SLGA recently sent letters to the communities that have qualified for permits notifying them that although they are eligible for a retail outlet, there is the option to opt out of the initial allocation of retail permits. If a community decides to opt out, they will have the option to advise SLGA if their decision changes in the future. The letter also requests that communities provide a copy of a Council resolution to SLGA by February 28, 2018.
Details regarding the application criteria, permit licensing fees, application timelines and other associated details will be finalized in upcoming weeks and a decision for the minimum age for cannabis consumption will be announced this spring.