Now that the Senate has passed Bill C-45 to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada, Saskatchewan is learning more about what the industry might look like in the province.
Compass Cannabis, an Alberta-based company, has won the licence to operate a retail pot store in the southeast city of Weyburn. Krista Lusted with the company said Weyburn was among several cities the company submitted applications for through the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) lottery system.
The company currently owns about 40 clinics in B.C. and Alberta focused on consultation for medical marijuana, but has partnered with Starbuds Colorado to operate a store on the recreational side.
Lusted explained the main corporate value of Compass is to reduce the stigma around marijuana use through professional operations.
“We don’t condone the sort of Rastafarian or psychedelic look or vibe or feel. We are comprised of managers and employees who come to us from very reputable industries — doctors and physicians and lawyers and dentists and so on and so forth, so it’s a little bit different than what people might expect,” Lusted said.
She added the company takes the social responsibility of managing risk and public education very seriously.
“One of the safety measures that’s put in place is that when you walk in you will be immediately greeted by someone that will check your ID to make sure you’re of age, but you also won’t be able to see any of the products or wares just in case a minor did inadvertently come into the store,” Lusted said.
She pointed out that staff members hired to operate Compass Cannabis Clinics, and the new Starbuds Canada store in Weyburn, live in the community, and will emphasize responsible cannabis use, such as not driving high.
“We don’t want to see people hurt or having a bad experience. And also a lot of it comes down to how not to over consume and how to either medicate responsibly or partake responsibly. If people have a bad experience then it could turn them off forever and we don’t want that either,” Lusted commented.
“It’s like liquor in terms of everything in moderation.”
Once Bill C-45 gets royal assent, it could take a few months before the federal and provincial governments are fully prepared for marijuana stores to open up legally.
For Starbuds Canada, the affiliate store for Compass Cannabis, the next step will be to find a space to lease in Weyburn and then begin construction on the store to be designed by architecture firm Mckinley Burkart.
Compass Cannabis even has a small connection to Weyburn, through co-founder Brianna Martyn who was born in the city and lived there as a child.