In an announcement Monday, the province of Saskatchewan finally unveiled its plans for the distribution and retail sale of legal cannabis.
Like most of the country, the liquor control board will oversee the regulation of marijuana at the top level, with the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) handling the permitting process.
The SLGA will be issuing cannabis retail licenses to private operators in 40 municipalities and First Nation communities.
Retail stores will initially be allocated in areas of the province with populations of at least 2,500 people. Larger communities like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s biggest city, will eventually receive more retail licenses to ensure adequate supply and access.
“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,” said Gene Makowsky, the minister responsible for the SLGA. “It’s also important to our government that the 40 municipalities and First Nations selected for retail locations have the opportunity to decide whether they want cannabis retail stores in their community.”
Steering closer to the Manitoba model, all wholesale and retail for legal cannabis will be handled by the private sector. This is in stark contrast to the frameworks selected by Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick which have taken an authoritarian approach from the top down.
Choosing retail operators in Saskatchewan will be a two-phase process, with the first step being an assessment of the potential store owners ability to track and report their inventory. Once qualified retailers have been identified, a random lottery selection will award retail licenses.
The chosen retailers will only be allowed to sell cannabis and ancillary products, as opposed to Nova Scotia’s highly controversial decision to sell cannabis and liquor together.
Additional information is expected to be released by the province in the coming weeks, which will include the minimum age for buying cannabis in Saskatchewan. The minimum age for purchasing alcohol in the province is 19 years.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett