The Estevan Board of Commissioners along with Estevan's Chief of Police are recommending to City Council that Estevan start out with one license for a cannabis retail outlet. 

"This was a decision that was made in conjunction with the Estevan Board of Police Commissioners so certainly they have a large say in this approach and how we move forward in Estevan when it comes to legalization of marijuana or cannabis."

"When we look at the legalization we have to look at a number of factors. The province initially said that a municipality could opt out for the sale of cannabis or that they could receive licensing through the province. When they listed the number of licenses available to each municipality, they listed the number for larger centres like Saskatoon and Regina and then they listed the numbers that would go to communities such as Moose Jaw and Prince Albert as well as Estevan. And what we looked at was all of those communities were on target to receive two licences."

"But when we looked at the population difference, there's some question. In a larger centre like Prince Albert, keep in mind it's triple the population of Estevan, would have two, then it would stand to reason that why would Estevan have the exact same number?"

He also noted that they discussed whether or not Estevan should have any retail outlets at all.

"We have to be mindful, this is not up for the police to decide whether marijuana should or should not be legalized, that's a political issue, a political decision. The police are then tasked to how do we enforce this, how do we deal with this moving forward? So we have to take that approach."

"Looking at legalization, we know that it is going to be legal in many municipalities across the province. Keeping in mind, just because you don't have a distribution centre or a storefront in your community, does not mean that somebody cannot legally purchase it in another community and bring it into your community. it's still going to be available to people one way or another."

"Then we had to look at the next portion of the legislation and the purpose of the legislation and one of the key focuses of the legalization of cannabis is to deal with organized crime and black market sales. To not have that there, people in this community are still going to be able to purchase, they're still going to have that option to purchase illegally. So that's something we had to consider as well."

He also warns that marijuana sold on the street may also be laced with other, more dangerous drugs.

"The next phase of that was looking at the fact that if we don't have a store front, what then do people do? The thought process is they go to other communities to purchase. If somebody purchases, are they then using on the way back or prior to coming back to Estevan thereby driving impaired by drug?"

"So we took all that into consideration, had a lengthy discussion on those issues and came out with the recommendation from the board to council that there be one licensed establishment to start. That's not to say that there's not availability to change down the road but I think a slow approach, a methodical approach is the best way to go." 

Ladouceur acknowledges that there are a lot of uncertainties that come along with this legalization. 

"We've spent the last several months preparing in numerous ways. We've sent members away for drug recognition expert training. We have an officer going on a trainer program on standardized field sobriety test procedures that will come back and train all our members in those procedures as well. We are working with the city when it comes to bylaws relating to the sale of cannabis."

He knows that the key in this community will be education. 

"We will have a very heavy emphasis on education when it comes to cannabis. That is similar to smoking and alcohol use. It's out here, people abuse it and the best defense is that education."

 

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