REGINA -- New cannabis stores won’t be able to open in Regina until at least early 2021, a move that will give the city more time to analyze the impacts caused by the industry.

City council voted 6-4 Wednesday for the moratorium on new cannabis stores, with some members expressing concerns that an influx of stores could have negative impacts.

“If we are asking for an economic impact assessment, it makes sense to have this information before we finalize,” said Coun. Andrew Stevens during the meeting.

The province initially allowed new stores to open in September, as long as they received approval from the city.  

However, that opening date was too soon for some business owners.

Jill Anderson, owner of Tweed, a retail cannabis company, said having many new stores would create an extremely competitive environment.

She said the industry is highly regulated and current companies are still establishing themselves.

“If you want to eliminate the illicit market you need to ensure the legal market thrives,” Anderson said during the meeting. “But by allowing 20-30 stores in a very short period of time, you are only causing an increased competitive market for legal retailers who will be fighting for survival amongst themselves.”

Anderson said she wants the city to support the industry by allowing it to grow carefully.

Many city councillors agreed, saying a slight delay in allowing new stores to open will help ensure Regina has a better idea on how they would affect the city.

City staff said they have been aware of 25 to 30 new cannabis stores that have expressed interest in opening.

“That would be too many too fast,” said Coun. Barbara Young.

Early next year, the city will receive a report that will outline the impacts of the cannabis industry on Regina.

Once that report is reviewed, council will then decide whether new stores can open.