More information regarding the upcoming legalization of cannabis has been released. The government of Saskatchewan has announced that cannabis will be sold through private retailers who will be regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Association (SLGA).
"It's not unlike how alcohol is being served now," shared Police Chief, Paul Ladouceur. "So there are government stores but there are privatized liquor establishments as well that sell liquor. I think the government's approach is similar to that."
"Obviously it will be heavily regulated. It's worked for alcohol so I don't see an issue so long as the regulations are in place and the enforcement is in place to make sure people are abiding by those regulations. Whether it's a government owned establishment or a private owned establishment that's regulated through the government, I don't see a lot of difference in that."
Municipalities and First Nations with population over 2,500 are eligible to receive a permit for a retail store, with larger centres receiving more permits. They then have the opportunity to opt out of receiving those permits.
"I do note that part of that legislation, municipalities have the capacity to make the decision whether or not they would choose to allow retail stores in the municipality. That will be a decision for the Police Board and Council to review."
"There's still a lot of work to do. It also allows the municipality to implement zoning bylaws, so where these businesses could be established and the location proximity to schools. There's certainly some legwork to be done and some consultation that I'll be having with the Police Board of Commissioners and with Council moving forward."
"This was just released by government and now we have to figure out how it's going to affect our community, and what we choose to do with it."
"The big question remains for this community will be whether this Council and this Police Board choose to have those establishments in the community or not. And that's not a decision for me as Chief of Police, that's certainly a political decision that has to made."
"The reality, at the end of the day, is the changes to the legislation are coming. It's been made very clear from the federal government. We as a police service have to adapt to those changes like we've done in the past with many changes."
"Our job isn't to pick and choose whether we agree or disagree, our job is to enforce the regulations surrounding those laws that are passed down through government."
Estevan is eligible for two retail stores. Approved retail stores may only sell cannabis and cannabis accessories and must track and report inventory. As of now, there is no decision made on the minimum age for consumption.