Municipalities should have bigger role in pot regulation, says policy analyst

A senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society says more municipal involvement in marijuana regulation could prevent sales to minors.

Sask. will give 60 retail licences to 40 communities across province

One in six convenience stores sells cigarettes to minors and there is a potential for similar numbers if pot is sold in the private sector, according to Rob Cunningham. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

More municipal involvement with marijuana regulation could help curb potential sales to minors, according to a policy analyst.

One in six convenience stores illegally sell cigarettes to minors, said Rob Cunningham with the Canadian Cancer Society, adding that the public system in provinces like Ontario would be more effective at controlling sales.

"When you have the private sector approach, there's a greater profit motivation; there's greater promotion," Cunningham said.

There will be an option for 60 permits for up to 40 communities across the province. (CBC)

Saskatchewan released its pot plan on Monday, which would see the option for 60 licences offered to 40 different communities. Saskatoon has the option for seven pot shop licences within the city while Regina has six.

Pot shops will be able to sell marijuana and marijuana accessories.

The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union echoed the same sentiments earlier this week when it said publicly-run stores would not be concerned with profit margins. 

"Municipalities should be part of the system that has effective licensing and control with respect to retailers to ensure there's not sales to minors, and to be able to control the number of retailers," Cunningham said.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society said more municipal involvement in the regulation of who gets to sell pot could curb sales to minors. (Radio-Canada)

Regina mayor Michael Fougere and Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark have said municipalities should get some of the revenue generated from pot sales to help pay the costs associated with regulating and policing it. 

In addition to more municipal involvement, Cunningham said increased measures to discourage smoking pot should be taken in Saskatchewan, such as banning the smoking of pot in the same places as cigarettes.

He pointed to Ontario, where smoking is permitted in private residences only.

Cunningham said there is little difference between smoke from marijuana, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or water pipes.

"Second hand smoke is second hand smoke."

With files from Radio-Canada