It might be over 100 days away, but time flies when you're a provincial government. So, when Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe heard the news that the federal government was giving them until October to put together a plan for when the marijuana is legalized, he was pleased to hear the news.
It was a little over two weeks ago that the federal government announced that the legalization of marijuana would occur on October 17, 2018.
The October date gives the Saskatchewan government time to put together a plan, something many provinces are hard at work doing.
Moe says they have already been planning with municipalities and law enforcement.
"We feel we've made great efforts in respect to working with our municipalities, working with our law enforcement across the province as well as putting in place the regulation legislation that we need to ensure that there is proper regulation around retailer sites," he said. "Working closely with our municipalities as to where those are located and how they will be operating in certain municipalities and putting that regulatory package forward. We've worked closely with our law enforcement and need to continue to work closely with them to ensure that our roadways are a safe a possible given this policy initiative."
Moe says no matter how much they discuss, plan, and try to prepare, this is new territory for them.
"This is uncharted waters for us; I will admit that," he said. "We are doing everything we can, working with people across the province to ensure that as we move forward with this policy initiative that was put forward by the federal government that we are working as diligently as we can on behalf of the people of this province."
One thing the province does know is what the monetary split will be between the federal and provincial government.
"The funds will be split on a 75 percent provincial, 25 percent federal basis," he said. "In this particular budget again with it being uncharted territory as far as how much cannabis will be sold, what the taxation revenues would be, what the expenses would be, we have a zero item in our budget as we just have no idea what those volumes could be. We have a zero expense line item, and we have a zero revenue line item as it's just difficult for us to predict where this will be."
Moe says that they haven't worked out the split between municipalities and the provincial government.
"That discussion has come forward. We have not had an official discussion with respect to splitting that, as we don't know where the cost will arise," he said. "For example and understanding that municipalities do have police forces in place now, but as we move forward with this, we'll all be able to adapt and educate ourselves as to where we need to improve on initiatives that have been put forward in law enforcement, in education. Education will be a significant portion of where those funds will those, but we will continue to talk with municipalities, law enforcement and all those involved."
The original date planned for the legalization of marijuana was July 1 of this year.