'We're very excited to get rolling': Big winner in marijuana lottery has big connections

Saskatchewan-based Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton — owned by international cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation — won the most permits to operate retails locations in Saskatchewan.

Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton — owned by an international company — won five of 51 pot permits in Sask.

Five entities won 33% of Saskatchewan's 51 pot retail permits. (CBC)

The biggest winner of last week's lottery-style draw for permits to sell marijuana in Saskatchewan is a well-known player on the international cannabis and hemp scene. 

Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton (Canopy Growth Corporation) won five of the 51 available permits. Provided it meets necessary requirements, such as criminal record checks, the company will be able to open shops in Fort Qu'Appelle, Humboldt, Meadow Lake, Melville and the R.M. of Corman Park.

Canopy Growth Corporation, which owns Tweed, is an international cannabis and hemp company with connections to multiple brands and recognizable people in the cannabis industry, including rapper Snoop Dogg.

The same company also owns a 90,000-square-foot facility in Yorkton that has a federal license to grow cannabis for medical purposes.

Saskatchewan will be the third province in Canada, after Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the company will set up brick and mortar shops for consumers to purchase cannabis products. 

"We're very excited to get rolling," said Regina-born Andrew MacCorquodale, head of operations for western Canada, Canopy Growth Corporation.

Increasing the odds

MacCorquodale founded the Yorkton company in 2013. It was acquired by the Canopy Growth Corporation about four years later.

He says they applied to as many jurisdictions as possible to increase their odds of getting a permit.

"We're very excited at the outcome and we're excited to begin engagement with these communities and show them what we're all about," he said. 

MacCorquodale said they are starting to reach out to the communities  where they plan to set up shop and have received an encouraging response so far. He said the company will host open houses and job fairs.

"We are, of course, interested in making sure that we have an open dialogue with the communities that we operate in," he said.

MacCorquodale says the next step for Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton is to start construction on their retail locations in Saskatchewan.

The provincial government says those who were chosen for permits must have their retail locations operating within 12 months of legalization.

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition