Saskatoon

About a third of Sask. pot stores open after almost 3 months of legalization

At least sixteen out of 51 stores, specifically, have rolled out since legalization.

At least sixteen out of 51 stores, specifically, have opened since date of legalization

Kiaro, opened its doors in Saskatoon's west-end Riversdale neighbourhood this past weekend. (Kiaro)

About one-third of Saskatchewan recreational cannabis stores have rolled out to the public in the almost three months since legalization.

At least 16 out of 51 stores have opened since Oct. 17.

The latest to do so, Kiaro, opened its doors in Saskatoon's west-side Riversdale neighbourhood this past weekend. 

So far, three out of seven Saskatoon stores have opened. Regina has three stores open out of six, including one Tweed franchise taken up by owner/operator Jill Anderson.

On Wednesday, Prairie Cannabis owner Jim Southam is holding the grand opening for his store in Prince Albert. The store had been selling already after a soft opening on Dec. 19.

Southam stockpiled cannabis for a month before opening to avoid the fate of other stores, which had to close for days while they waited for supply to rebound.

"I was purchasing larger quantities as much as I could for as much as I was being offered because I knew that demand was going to be strong," he said.

Jim Southam, the owner of Prairie Cannabis in Prince Albert, stockpiled supply for a month before his soft opening on Dec. 19. He wanted to avoid the fate of store owners who opened shortly after legalization: closing their doors after their shelves quickly ran out. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

None of the cannabis at Southam's store has come from licenced producers based in Saskatchewan.

"Right from Vancouver Island to Eastern Canada, I've been contacting them all right across the country," said Southam of his out-of-province suppliers.

1 year to open

Saskatchewan's cannabis store have until Oct. 17 of this year to open or else the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) could take their permits away.

People who drew runner-up ballots during the provincial government's lottery system in early 2018 would then be given a crack at opening a store.

SLGA now has an updated list of all stores that have received their operating permits. Eighteen had their permits as of Tuesday. That does not mean all those stores are open, however.

The provincial government will consider issuing more permits, beyond the initial 51, as early as this October, a spokesperson for the SLGA said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

Story tips? guy.quenneville@cbc.ca

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