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Pot on the Prairie: The debate over dispensaries leading up to 2018
Jamie Fischer, CTV Regina
Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:31AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 1, 2017 4:12PM CST
Pot on the Prairie is a week-long series exploring how the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada could impact Saskatchewan. The series runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. Watch part two Tuesday on CTV News at Six.
With only eight months until marijuana is set to become legal in Canada, many businesses are looking to get in on the ground floor. Dispensaries can now be found across Saskatchewan, and the country.
Jeremy Smith is the owner of one of those dispensaries. Jane and Co. opened in Regina in September.
Smith has Crohn’s disease and uses medical marijuana to treat his symptoms. At the moment, only clients with a prescription for marijuana can purchase the product at his store, but with legal marijuana on the way, he’s looking at his options.
“It’s something that we're working with our MLAs and politicians, trying to see what direction the provinces are going to go,” Smith told CTV News.
But until July 1, 2018, there is a catch. Dispensaries are currently illegal across the country.
“It stands to reason that if you want to operate a business and put an open sign on the door on July 1, that you might be doing some work now to get ready for it,” Regina police Chief Evan Bray said. “However, it doesn't make sense to me that you’d be now selling marijuana over the countertop, because that's not legal.”
Regina police say they haven't laid any charges against dispensaries, unlike in Saskatoon, where The Saskatchewan Compassion Club was shut down in October 2015 and the owner charged with trafficking.
The federal government is drawing up basic federal laws to legalize the drug, but regulation is up to the provinces. The Saskatchewan government hasn’t given any hints about what its plans are yet, but in the speech from the throne last week, the government said they plan to introduce legislation that will govern the sale and distribution of marijuana and outline measures to protect public health and safety.
“We're trying to keep the black market out of it, or at least reduce the incentive for the black market to become involved in marijuana distribution,” Don Morgan, minister of justice, told CTV News.
The province also collected input from the public on its upcoming legislation earlier this month. They'll review the results and plan to have a first draft of legislation introduced this fall in order to have it passed and finalized before next spring.