The minister responsible for Saskatchewan’s cannabis regulator says there’s “many moving parts” to the upcoming nationwide rollout of legal marijuana.
SLGA minister Gene Makowsky told Gormley Friday the province estimates a dozen of its 51 pot stores will be ready for legalization Wednesday.
“Things change rapidly as folks get things ready to go,” Makowsky said.
“Some have decided … they want to take their time and they’re not quite where they want to be to run their business.”
The minister noted all cannabis sales — in-store and online — are regulated by SLGA, to ensure a safe and legal supply to people in the province.
“There are communities that don’t have (stores) or some people don’t want to go into a store, there’s the ability to get product from those retailers,” Makowsky said.
The minister said cannabis retailers also face a “few more hurdles” in terms of introducing a brand new product in an unknown market.
“There’s even more burdens, or requirements, from the SLGA side and from the local level,” he said.
Makowsky explained that along with businesses having “good character,” the store’s security systems are thoroughly inspected to ensure the product is secure. Employees also go through online training on how to sell marijuana responsibility.
The minister added the same regulation requirements apply to wholesalers, with the exception that there’s no limit on the number of those suppliers.
According to Makowsky, five wholesalers have gone through the process so far and a “few more have applied.”
“There didn’t have to be a lottery process or an RFP process,” he said, adding Saskatchewan also allows licensed producers to sell direct to retailers.
“Hopefully that will help with supply.”
The minister said the impending legalization date is only a small part of the bigger picture.
“The 17th isn’t sort of the end or the final destination,” Makowsky said.
“Who knows what the next few years will bring? In the next five years we might say, ‘What were we worried about?’ … or it could be something other than that.”
Makowsky said SLGA will be monitoring the industry closely to inform future regulation decisions.