Province Moves Closer to Alberta’s Example, But Not All Are Happy – LPC
The Saskatchewan government announced it will move to an open market cannabis model in 2020. The shift is to help eliminate black market cannabis.
Saskatchewan previously had a lottery system similar to Ontario’s cannabis licence lottery. There were further limitations including a limit on the number of retail cannabis licences available within any one community. Communities with fewer than 2,500 people could not have a licensed cannabis retail store.
However, starting in April 2020, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will accept cannabis retail permits in communities with less than 2,500 people. In September 2020, provincial licence limits restrictions will be lifted. (Communities will still be able to cap how many retail stores they want.)
SLGA Minister Gene Makowsky said that an open market cannabis model is the right move right now. “We believe opening the market to more retailers will help meet customer demand, while also helping discourage competition from unlicensed stores,” he said.
Some Wonder How Open Market Cannabis Will Affect the Current Retail System – LPC
Not everyone agrees that Saskatchewan will benefit from open market cannabis. Landyn Uhersky, who co-owns Wiid Boutique in Regina, said that independent stores could suffer.
“I’d be worried about is the big national chains coming in and bullying the market,” Uhersky said. “It’s going to be the big guys that benefit from this. I’m kind of scared it’s not going to be the little guys.”
Saskatchewan’s open market cannabis model will still follow stringent rules. Retailers will undergo background checks, must install proper security and inventory control measures, and must purchase only from licensed producers (LPs) in the province.
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has the least access to legal cannabis per capita. Currently, there are only 24 bricks-and-mortar stores open, and none north of Sudbury. Ontario’s licence lottery has resulted in delays and disqualifications. Many including the Ontario Cannabis Policy Council are calling on the provincial government to follow a similar open market cannabis model.
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