The Saskatchewan government unveiled Monday morning its plan for how the sale of cannabis will be handled once it is legalized by the federal government. The legalization is expected to be passed in the summer.
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will be issuing up to 60 cannabis retail permits to private stores in as many as 40 Saskatchewan communities. The initial allocation of retail store permits will be in municipalities and First Nations with populations of at least 2,500, with larger communities being allocated additional permits.
The framework will allow eligible communities to opt out of having a retail cannabis store in their community if they choose. The final number of retail permits will depend on the number of community leaders which decide to opt out.
Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy welcomed the information as it was released by the province Monday.
“We are happy to see the province is moving ahead to give us, as a city, some direction as to what we have to do, and how do we have to set up our bylaws,” Roy said after hearing the news.
The city will establish rules such as where the retail outlets can be located, amongst other items. Roy said there is already some framework in place due to other bylaws, and the entire situation will likely be handled in a similar manner to how alcohol and tobacco sales are handled within the community.
Roy added he doesn’t find it likely the city will prohibit the sale of cannabis. He pointed out it is within the city’s ability to prohibit the sale of alcohol as well.
“Those things are of the 1930’s,” Roy explained, pointing out the failed attempts within the province, and in many other jurisdictions, at the prohibition of alcohol sales.
The federal government has said their timeline to pass legislation legalizing the sale of cannabis is for the end of June. Saskatchewan was the last province to introduce its framework for how the sale of cannabis would be handled.