Saskatchewan Cannabis Legalization Framework Released


The Government of Saskatchewan is releasing its framework for cannabis legalization and outlining a plan for the legal and responsible distribution, sale and use of cannabis in the province. Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework outlines various aspects of cannabis legalization and regulation within the province that will ensure the safety of Saskatchewan families and communities.

The framework includes details on priorities such as keeping our roads and workplaces safe; wholesale, distribution, and retail sales; and includes input from stakeholders as well as guidance from the public survey conducted in the fall of 2017.

A national minimum age of consumption for non-medicinal cannabis has been set at 18 by the federal government; provinces however have the authority to provide additional restrictions on the provincial age of consumption. Saskatchewan is electing to use this authority, and the provincial age of consumption for non-medicinal cannabis is 19 years of age, the same as alcohol.

Similar to smoking cigarettes, consuming cannabis in public places will be prohibited for public health considerations.

Similar to legislation for alcohol, consumption of cannabis in one’s vehicle will be prohibited. Cannabis can however be transported from a place it can be legally purchased to a place where it can be legally consumed, or from one location of legal consumption to another.

Once Bill C-46 is in place, police will have the authority to use federally approved roadside drug screening devices for impaired driving (as well as the existing SFSTs) if they have reason to suspect that a driver has used drugs. These devices will test saliva for the presence of THC (the impairing ingredient in cannabis) as well as some other drugs. Where a driver tests positive or fails the SFST, police can demand a blood sample or a drug recognition evaluator test.

The federal government has established a maximum public possession amount of 30 grams per legal-aged consumer, the province has decided to maintain this limit within the province.

Saskatchewan is introducing laws to prohibit the possession of any amount of non-medicinal cannabis by a minor – anyone under the legal age within the province. Possession of more than 5 grams is a criminal offence and subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act processes and penalties.

The province will adopt the federal minimum standards around home production, including a limit of four cannabis plants grown per household. No decision has been made regarding the federal regulations regarding home cultivation and a decision will be forthcoming in Spring 2018. The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to explore additional rules around where cannabis can be grown, including issues concerning multiunit residences and rental properties, and how cannabis can be grown.

Saskatchewan will adopt the proposed federal excise taxation framework for cannabis products. This framework applies to all cannabis products, not just non-medicinal. Ministers of Finance met recently to discuss the allocation of the proposed excise tax. It was announced after the meeting that seventy-five per cent of the excise tax collected on non-medicinal sales would go to provinces and territories. This amount is well above the originally proposed 50 per cent split of revenue, and it better reflects the responsibilities placed on the provinces. Cannabis retail permits are available in the following communities: Assiniboia Battleford Canora Esterhazy Estevan (1)* Fort Qu’Appelle Humboldt La Loche La Ronge Lloydminster (2) Maple Creek Martensville Meadow Lake Melfort Melville Moose Jaw (2) Moosomin Nipawin North Battleford (2) Outlook Prince Albert (2) Regina (6) RM of Corman Park RM of Edenwold Rosetown Saskatoon (7) Swift Current (2) Tisdale Unity Warman (2) Weyburn (2) Yorkton (2)

Biggar, Kindersley, Pilot Butte, Shellbrook and White City were also eligible but opted out during this initial allocation of cannabis retail permits.

*Estevan opted for one permit at this time (eligible for two). SLGA will confirm intentions of the three eligible First Nations communities (Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation) by the end of March.

Government will assess the effectiveness of the initial allocation and selection process and the potential for additional permit opportunities in 12-18 months.

Key details included in the framework are:

• Minimum age for non-medicinal cannabis consumption will be 19 years of age; • Zero tolerance for all drug-impaired drivers in the province. It will always be illegal to drive while impaired in Saskatchewan – whether by drugs or alcohol. This will not change once cannabis use becomes legal; • Consuming cannabis in public spaces will be prohibited for public health considerations. Consumption will also be prohibited in schools and daycares. • Saskatchewan is introducing legislation to prohibit the possession of any amount by a minor. Possession of smaller amounts, by a minor, will be addressed primarily through ticketing and seizure of the cannabis, in accordance with the provincial Act. Possession of more than five grams will be a criminal offence subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. • The province will adopt the federal minimum standards around home production, including a limit of four plants per household.

Key operating details for cannabis retailers:

Cannabis stores must be standalone, selling only cannabis, cannabis accessories and cannabis ancillary items (no cannabis edibles).

  • Cannabis retailers must operate a storefront, and will also be able to sell cannabis online.

  • Retailers must purchase product from a wholesaler licensed by SLGA, a federally approved cannabis grower/supplier who has registered with SLGA, a registered extraprovincial wholesaler, and/or from another Saskatchewan licensed retailer.  Cannabis retailers must meet local zoning bylaws regarding location of their retail store.

  • In communities eligible for more than one retail outlet, a proponent can only be selected for one retail permit in this selection process.

  • Minors under the age of 19 are not allowed in cannabis retail stores.

  • Identification is required for all retail sales and deliveries, regardless of apparent age.

  • No consumption of cannabis products is allowed in a retail cannabis outlet.

  • All retailers must take mandatory social responsibility training prior to opening for business. All employees at a retail store must take training prior to their first day of employment.

  • All retailers will be subject to inspections to ensure compliance with terms and conditions associated with their retail permit. Retailers in breach of operating rules will be subject to sanctions, including letters of warning, monetary fines and suspension or cancellation of the retail permit.

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming (SLGA) selection process for cannabis retail permits is now underway. There are 51 retail cannabis permits available in 32 communities based on communities electing to proceed with all, or a percentage of, the allowable number of retail establishments within their community. A two-phase selection process will be used to determine the retail operators. The detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) documents related to the retail selection process are available on www.SaskTenders.ca. A free user account is required to download the documents. Questions related to the RFP process must be sent by email to rfp.inquiries@slga.gov.sk.ca. Deadline to respond to the RFP is April 10, 2018 at 2 p.m. Additional information on Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework can be found at www.Saskatchewan.ca/cannabis

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