City report suggests Regina would need 24 pot shops to disrupt black market

Click to play video: 'City report suggests Regina would need 24 pot shops to disrupt black market' City report suggests Regina would need 24 pot shops to disrupt black market
WATCH: It's almost been three years since cannabis was legalized in Canada, but the issues the black market poses is something jurisdictions across the country, including the City of Regina, continue to grapple with. Taz Dhaliwal has more on what's being purposed to help curtail the problem. – Jun 9, 2021

In order to keep the local pot scene in Regina budding, city councillors are looking to add more cannabis shops.

According to a report released to council last week, Regina needs approximately 24 licensed cannabis shops to disrupt the black market.

Industry analysis in the report states the general rule for a mature market is about one store for 10,000 people, which means since Regina has a population of close to 240,000, it would need to have approximately 24 stores.

However, one pot shop owner thinks adding more stores won’t necessarily fix the problem.

Read more: Regina’s first legal cannabis dispensary opens its doors Saturday

“I firmly believe the black market has been disrupted as much as it can at this point,” said Landyn Uhersky, operating manager at Wiid.

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“Those who are still holding out are still against government-controlled cannabis or they’re against the wasteful packaging prescribed by Health Canada,” he added.

There are currently 11 licensed cannabis stores in Regina and the city has approved 11 more applications for permits.

The report also indicates zoning rules create barriers to potential shop owners due to minimum separation distances required.

But if these rules were eased, Uhersky feels current pot shop owners would be put at a disadvantage since they never had the option of choosing a more “prime” location in order to be able to bring in more clientele.

Read more: Regina police charge 6 in Monday’s raid of 4 illegally-operated pot shops

“I guess all current retailers had to work within those guidelines, so we may not be in the most desirable spots because otherwise we would have been to close to a park or a library,” he said.

Uhersky adds he’s not worried about competition, but just hopes people will continue to support locally owned stores opposed to chain stores.

One economic master’s student at the University of Regina says easing barriers for potential pot shop owners to operate legally is one of the the best ways to disrupt the black market.

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“Making the road to legitimacy as easy as possible, the reality is if people want to consume recreational cannabis, they will find a way to do it,” Angèle Poirier said.

After Wednesday’s council meeting, Regina Mayor Sandra Masters says she expects zoning regulations will change.

“It’s more a matter of opening the market up to allow for that competition to happen,” she said.

Although, when these changes to zoning bylaws could happen is not known at this time.

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