Pubdate: Tue, 09 Jan 2018
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The StarPhoenix
Author: Phil Tank
Page: A4


Until province reveals its full plans, revision of bylaws is stuck in

The landscape for legal marijuana in Saskatoon remains hazy, even
though the provincial government released part of its plan.

On Monday, Mayor Charlie Clark told reporters he welcomed more clarity
from the province, but could not guarantee the city's complex
regulatory regime will be in place for July 1, the federal
government's target date for marijuana legalization.

Clark spoke after a city council committee discussed possible bylaw
changes that will depend on the provincial rules. Saskatchewan remains
the only province that has not released its plan for legalized marijuana.

Clark and others on the planning, development and community services
committee said the lag in provincial rules is making it difficult for
city hall.

"We are going to be as diligent as we can in the process, but I can't
predict 100 per cent if by July 1 it's all going to be in place,"
Clark told reporters. "We want to strike the right balance between
getting them in place efficiently and not being a barrier to that, but
also making sure that it's going to work and it's going to work well."

The Saskatchewan Party government announced Monday that the province
will regulate private retailers rather than become involved directly
in the sale of cannabis.

The province will issue 60 licences for marijuana retail stores,
including seven in Saskatoon. The regime will be regulated by the
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).

The rest of the province's plan, such as the legal age for
consumption, is not expected to be released until Premier Brad Wall's
successor is chosen on Jan. 27.

Monday's committee endorsed a report from city administration that
recommends changes to existing restrictions on tobacco smoking to
include marijuana. The report also included possible changes to zoning
bylaws to determine where the production and manufacture of cannabis
can take place.

The committee heard marijuana stores could face requirements like a
security plan, restricted hours, transparent windows and at least two
staff at all times.

The city could also opt for buffer zones around facilities that
produce or sell marijuana, and higher costs for business licences.

Coun. Darren Hill noted the Broadway Avenue commercial district, which
could be an attractive location for a cannabis retailer, also features
a high school and an elementary school.

"That's one of the most contentious areas for the consideration of
this," Clark told reporters. Broadway is home to several bars, one of
which operates a liquor retailer right next to the elementary school.

Clark repeated during the meeting the need for cities to receive a
share of revenues from marijuana sales to pay for services like
policing, saying it's not a "cash grab" by the city.

"I think we're going to see a huge impact on us compared to the
province," Hill added.

Clayton Sparks, a Saskatoon entrepreneur who plans to become involved
in the marijuana business, told reporters he is planning two outlets
in Saskatoon. He would not reveal the planned locations, but hinted
they could include Broadway.

Sparks, whose plans include a farm in the southern part of the
province, said he does not expect the city to have its rules in place
for July 1.

"I think there's a tremendous amount of work to do and there's a lot
of details to figure out," he said, adding he welcomes the involvement
of SLGA in the regulation of marijuana.

David Deswiage, a Saskatoon commercial insurance broker who
specializes in the marijuana industry, said he's not concerned city
hall might not be ready for the July 1 deadline.

Deswiage said he's confident the seven retail permits being offered by
the province for Saskatoon will be snapped up. "It's very positive,"
he said. "It's a good day."
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MAP posted-by: Matt