A Regina medical cannabis retailer has some questions surrounding Saskatchewan’s recently rolled-out pot framework.
Pat Warnecke, owner of Best Buds Society in Regina, wants to apply to be a private retailer regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority; however, he believes there’s a lack of transparency around the lottery system involved in the process.
“Why wouldn’t it be done based on merit? Why wouldn’t it be done based on knowledge? Why wouldn’t it be done based on experience?” Warnecke said he wonders.
For many experienced retailers, Warnecke said there’s a fear the framework favours larger corporations, which often aren’t as knowledgeable.
The tendering process requires all applicants submit a fee, and he noted that financial burden can be too much for some local businesses.
“There are a lot of things we have to look at, but simply trying to do a cash grab on dispensaries and on people is not going to work,” Warnecke said. “All that’s going to happen is (the government’s) creating an environment in which only corporations can come in and compete.”
There are 51 retail cannabis permits available across 32 Saskatchewan communities, and six permits specifically slated for Regina.
Interested parties have until April 10 at 2 p.m. to submit their proposals.
Pot prices still up in the air
As far as pricing pot goes, Warnecke said the province should look towards experienced local growers and sellers to determine a fair fee.
“If there are no craft growers in the industry to compare quality or to have any inclusion in the market, then the licensed producers get to set the prices as they see fit,” he said.
Ideally, Warnecke suggested cannabis should sell between $5 to $10 per gram. If it’s more than that, he said there’s a good chance the black market will thrive.