Moose Jaw and Estevan are deciding on what the legal marijuana market will look like in the cities – starting with allowing stores to open at all.
In January, the province announced a list of 40 communities eligible to open legal dispensaries with permits handed out based on a two-phase application process.
The province gave municipalities the choice to opt out of allowing stores.
Moose Jaw city council voted Monday night to allow pot stores to open with permits from the province. The city was awarded two stores by the province.
Mayor Fraser Tolmie said they would have to be paying for it through their policing.
“We wanted to look at a revenue stream and a couple of comments that were made (Monday) night were fruitful for us with regards to locations and implementing from a speaker who opened up in Colorado.”
Tolmie said one of the main concerns the city has is the locations of the stores — not having them in residential areas and near schools, daycares or addiction treatment centres.
Moose Jaw was considering not allowing dispensaries once the drug becomes legal in the summer. The city put out a call for public input on the issue, and set up an online poll, which found 84 per cent of respondents were in favour of allowing legal marijuana stores.
Discover Moose Jaw reported a few local residents who use medicinal marijuana to manage pain addressed council in favour of allowing legal dispensaries. Another speaker urged councillors to consider the possible economic benefits of legal marijuana dispensaries.
“As with any legitimate business, we should not only allow but encourage them to open and operate here then let the market decide if the business is to be successful,” commented Rece Allen, who also appeared before city council Monday.
“Failure to allow legal sales will only give residents and tourists more reason to head outside of our city.”
Tolmie said the next step is to just wait and see what the federal and provincial governments do with legislation surrounding marijuana.
Estevan city council also voted in favour of allowing one pot store to open after legalization this summer. The city is eligible for two permits, but decided to take a recommendation from the board of police commissioners to allow one store, then revisit the option of allowing a second.
“We want to with one and see how that goes with the intention if we feel like another one is needed we could go up to two,” Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig said.
Ludwig said there is always concern from people when something new gets brought in and pot legalization.
“They don’t like the idea of being open with drugs in the community and I understand, this is something we’ve never had in Canada before.”
Ludwig said the city will need to continue on with their zoning and bylaw changes as it prepares for the legalization.
He also wants to know how much revenue the cities will be getting from pot because of the increase which will come to the police services.
—With files from Discover Moose Jaw