Setting up a cannabis retail business in Saskatoon may end up costing entrepreneurs a pretty penny.
A report from city administration Tuesday is proposing a first-time business licence charge of $20,000 for pot shops, along with an annual renewal fee of $10,000.
Regular business licences in Saskatoon cost $125, with a renewal fee of $85.
Cierra Sieben-Chuback, a business school graduate who obtained one of the provincial permits to operate a cannabis retail location in Saskatoon, told 650 CKOM the fees were expensive.
“It won’t prohibit me from opening. But it’s a matter of how long it’ll take me to break even,” she said.
Randy Grauer, general manager of the community services department, said in a statement the higher licensing fees are necessary.
“(It) reflects our existing cost profile to administer this new and very complex business. And the smaller number of businesses involved,” he wrote.
“This business environment was thrust upon municipalities and the licence fees reflect our costs.”
Recreational cannabis is set to be legalized later this year by the federal government, while the province has already outlined its rules for consumption and sales.
Seven pot business licences have been approved for Saskatoon, meaning up to $140,000 could be collected by the city for first-time fees.
The city report also suggests cannabis retailers should be required to install air filtration systems to “minimize odour impacts on neighbouring properties,” and that store signage should not “promote cannabis or cannabis-related items.”
The proposals will be brought to city council’s planning, development and community services committee on Wednesday.
Debate could also return on the mandated distance between cannabis retailers. On May 29, councillors struck down a distance of 160 metres from schools and public parks — the same mandated separation for adult services businesses.
Instead, councillors favoured a 60-metre distance, which had originally been proposed as an exemption for the Broadway neighbourhood.
The cannabis report issued by the city Tuesday still suggests a 160-metre buffer.
The planning, development and community services meeting begins Wednesday at 9 a.m.