Saskatoon

Who has been lobbying the Sask. gov't about pot?

Safety-minded groups and some private companies, is who.

Safety-minded groups and some private companies, is who

Saskatchewan's lobbyist registry lists six companies that have lobbied the provincial government on matters on pot since the registry launched in August 2016. (CBC)

Workplace safety is a common concern among groups that have lobbied the Saskatchewan government about the coming legalization of pot.

Saskatchewan's lobbyist registry lists six groups that have met with or written the government about legal pot and its implications since the registry launched in August 2016.

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association is among them. The group, which represents 100 companies operating in the province, wants the government to allow companies to randomly test employees for signs of alcohol, drug or marijuana impairment.

"We want them to give employers the ability to randomly screen throughout employment, as opposed to just during pre-employment," said Susan Ewart, the executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association.

The need for such testing, which the association has been lobbying for for 20 years, is only further underscored by the impending launch of legal pot, she added.

Clear workplace policies key

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has also talked to the government about workplace safety, namely, what workplaces should do to tighten up their policies dealing with on-the-job impairment.

"Most companies don't need significant changes to their policies but they need to add in wording that includes cannabis, not just alcohol and perhaps prescription drugs," said Steve McLellan, the chamber's CEO.

"Important also is the need to communicate these policies to their workforce to make sure the employees are fully briefed," he said.

Private companies listed

The still-relatively-new lobbyist registry is a voluntary system. Groups self-report their meetings or communications with the government.

The other groups that have done so when it comes pot are the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and three private businesses, including Edmonton-based Liquor Stores GP Inc.

The other two businesses are Canadian cannabis company Nuuvera Inc., which had yet to become a licensed producer of medical marijuana as of late March, according to its website, and Calgary-based Merrco, a company offering an online payment and verification system for pot retailers.

Merrco was the only group among the six listed in the registry to hire an outside company, Global Public Affairs, to do its lobbying.

None of those companies responded to requests for an interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

Story tips? guy.quenneville@cbc.ca

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