Sask. government launches survey on recreational marijuana regulations

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There are less than ten months before marijuana is legalized, and the province wants to know your thoughts on the future rules. David Baxter reports on what will help form part of Saskatchewan’s marijuana strategy – Sep 8, 2017

Marijuana legalization is ten months away, and the Saskatchewan government wants your input on shaping provincial regulations. Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan announced the start of an online survey Friday.

“The review process will be guided by four overarching objectives, which will include restricting the illegal cannabis market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, protecting public and personal health and promoting safety on roads, workplaces and other public spaces,” Morgan said.

The survey runs from now until October 6. Morgan acknowledged this is a tight, but necessary timeline.

“We have to have something in place. We may have to do some things where we put thing in place on an interim basis and do things later on as we go, but we want to have as much done as we possibly can,” Morgan said.

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The plan is to present regulations to the legislative assembly during the spring session, ahead of the federal plan to legalize marijuana next July.

How police will handle impaired drivers is one of the biggest questions that comes with impending legalization. The Ministry of Justice’s executive director of corporate initiatives, performance and planning, Dale Tesarowski, said officers currently use standard field sobriety tests. Specially trained officers also have a number of tests they conduct.

“That could lead to a blood test as well, which can determine the prescience and amount of a drug on board,” he explained.

Tesarowski added that authorities are also watching the development of other testing methods, such as a spit swab that tests for THC.

READ MORE: Ontario to sell marijuana in 150 government-run stores; must be used in ‘private residences’

Ontario announced their marijuana regulations Friday as well. In that province, 150 stores operated by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will be the only places marijuana can be sold.

Morgan said that no decision has been made in Saskatchewan yet, but the province will likely pursue other options.

This is good news for Regina-based businessman Jason Drummond. The chair of Leo’s Group, which runs Leopold’s Tavern, said they are in the process of opening a coffee shop that will sell marijuana accessories, and perhaps one day legal weed.

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“We have a six store deal that we made with Tokyo Smoke, it’s a brand out of Toronto,” Drummond said.

READ MORE: Sask. investors have high hopes for future marijuana industry

Leo’s Group anticipates opening a Calgary Tokyo Smoke location in the next six to eight weeks, and a Regina location early next year.

If Tokyo Smoke is able to sell recreational reefer in Regina, Drummond said they’re ready to do their part aiding public health.

“In a product like this you need to educate them on responsible use, potential side effects, how to use, when to use, those kinds of things,” Drummond said.

“We definitely will have educational materials on site at any store that we open.”

Drummond added that he has been contacted by the province in an effort to gather business input on the future regulations.

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