Saskatchewan to Expand Cannabis Retail to Free Market Model

Saskatchewan is moving to become a free market. At least in terms of cannabis, that is. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), whom is also the government body response for cannabis within the province, announced today that it is moving towards a free market for cannabis retail in the province.

Saskatchewan has previously dealt with cannabis in a manner unlike the rest of Canada. The agency had previously limited cannabis retail licenses within the province based on population dispersion. Communities were required to have at least 2,500 residents to qualify for a location, and the total locations province wide was limited to 51. While a limited license model was not unique to just Saskatchewan, what was unique is that the body allowed retailers to sell product online to residents across the province. Furthermore, licensed producers of cannabis are able to deal directly with retailers, versus going through a governmental agency like is required across the province.

The SLGA has decided to rejig things slightly however now that cannabis has become more commonplace. Beginning in April 2020, the SLGA will begin to allow retailers to exist in centers with under 2,500 residents. In fact, population requirements have been removed entirely, with no minimum level being set. The goal is to allow retailers to flourish or flounder based on their own operational ability, rather than benefit from a government-mandated scarcity of licenses.

Residents of the province will really begin to notice a change in September 2020 however, when the SLGA will open up existing retail markets to a free market as well. This means that major centers such as Regina and Saskatoon will not have a mandated cap on how many retailers can open up shop.

A year has passed since legalization and most of the initial retailers are now serving customers in their communities. We’ve also had the opportunity to consider how Saskatchewan should proceed in the future. We believe opening the market to more retailers will help meet customer demand while also helping discourage competition from unlicensed stores.

Gene Makowsky, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority

The method of supplying retailers will not change either, with licensed producers and wholesalers remaining to deal directly with retailers themselves, provided they are registered within the province.

Those interested in opening a retail location in the province will still be required to pass a good character check, implement inventory tracking, and maintain a security system.

Saskatchewan currently has an estimated population of 1.17 million people.

Information for this briefing was found via the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. The author has no securities or affiliations related to any organization mentioned. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.