Cities to begin zoning marijuana retail stores, proximity to schools a consideration
Cannabis will be sold by private retailers and regulated by Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). Saskatchewan is the last province to share how it will regulate legalized cannabis.
Monday’s announcement is exactly what municipalities and potential marijuana retailers have been waiting for.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark is thankful for the long-awaited announcement and said bylaws can now be written.
“There’s a lot of locations where this is pretty straightforward and if you look at liquor stores, there’s a few locations where this is more contentious like nearby schools and closer to residential areas,” Clark said.
Clark wants to avoid pushing storefronts into industrial areas.
The announcement from the province includes an option for communities to opt out.
“I’m not sure what the compelling reason would be to say no when it’s legally regulated and by law, allowed to be used,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said.
Seventy-five per cent of tax revenue from legalized marijuana will be given to provinces. The portion provinces decide to share with municipalities, if any, was not part of Monday’s announcement.
In Regina, there are already 12 confirmed dispensaries currently operating. Until cannabis is legalized, dispensaries are considered illegal. Medical marijuana is to be ordered through an online distributor.
Michael McLachlan is a medical marijuana user. He would like to see governments push the envelope further and is an advocate for cannabis cafes.
“To allow the public to consume it and congregate is a very important step that needs to occur,” McLachlan said, listing health benefits as one of the reasons.
Clayton Sparks, the co-creator of Breathe/Flower Power Cannabis Pharms, plans to apply for two of Saskatoon’s seven available retail permits.
“It’s going to be artsy, it’s going to be authentic,” he said.
Sparks pictures a store similar to a flower shop and less like an X-rated adult store.
“It’s really nice to actually envision a cannabis industry where you can proudly walk through the door just like you do to go buy your booze for the weekend and walk out with a bottle of wine and everybody smiles and says ‘oh you look like you’re going to have a good time’ so I think it’s going to be nice when we evolve,” Sparks said.
Stores must be standalone and will be limited to selling cannabis, cannabis accessories and ancillary items.
SLGA will select the retailers through a phased approach. Phase one includes the initial screening and financial assessment. Proponents who pass that phase will be entered into a random selection lottery draw.
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