The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will issue approximately 60 cannabis retail permits to private operators in as many as 40 Saskatchewan municipalities and First Nation communities. “The federal government has established very aggressive timelines for the legalization of cannabis,” Minister Responsible for SLGA Gene Makowsky said. “Our government is being diligent to ensure the sale and regulation of cannabis in Saskatchewan strikes a balance between public safety and access for consumers. It’s also important to our government that the 40 municipalities and First Nations selected for retail locations have the opportunity to decide whether they want cannabis retail stores in their community.” 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. Eligible First Nations and municipalities will have the option 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 that decide to opt out.
Both wholesaling and retailing of cannabis will be conducted by the private sector and regulated by SLGA. Cannabis retailers will be required to establish a standalone storefront operation, with the option to also operate an online store. Stores will be limited to selling cannabis, cannabis accessories and ancillary items. Stores must also have the ability to track and report cannabis inventory to help ensure consumers only have access to safe, legal product from regulated wholesalers. An independent third party will be engaged to assist SLGA with selecting retail operators using a two-phase process. The first phase will be initial screening for financial capacity and the ability for proponents to track and report inventory. Phase two will be a random selection (lottery) of the qualified applicants. Successful proponents will be required to meet ‘good character’ criteria as part of the permitting process. Specific details regarding application criteria, permit licensing fees, application timelines and other associated details will be finalized over the coming weeks. A decision on the minimum age for cannabis consumption will be made later this spring.