The City of Saskatoon is emphasizing the need for a provincial plan on legal marijuana, as administration officials get ready to present to council on options for local regulations.
A report, set to be tabled at Monday’s planning, development and community services committee meeting, outlines how the city may need to adjust business licences for current medical marijuana education stores, along with required amendments to outdoor smoking bylaws.
The report’s authors are also raising concerns over the current lack of direction from the Saskatchewan government.
“It is essential that the province’s plan for cannabis be released as soon as possible,” the report states.
“Such information is necessary to sufficiently identify the areas of concern that local regulations may, or may not, need to address.”
The report uses the example of business licences and zoning restrictions on where marijuana can be sold.
If the government plans to open stores similar to SLGA locations, the city won’t have to worry as much about issuing licences or re-zoning business areas to the same degree.
Premier Brad Wall told reporters Thursday the government is expecting to release details on the retail model for cannabis sales “quickly.”
While cautious not to reveal too many details that would fall under the decision-making process of the new premier, Wall did voice concern over how quickly the government has had to develop their rules.
“I get that the federal government made a promise in the last election,” he said.
“But it has taken up a lot of time of government. More time than I think is warranted if you ask Saskatchewan people what priority they would place on this.”
Wall also responded to questions on whether municipal governments will see tax revenue from pot sales, after the federal government came to an agreement with the provinces on how the money will be split.
The outgoing premier said most of the money would likely stay with the provincial government.
“The provinces will bear the cost for this,” he said, noting the need for increased law enforcement and awareness campaigns.
“We need to say how it all shakes out.”
In the meantime, Saskatoon’s city administration is recommending a strict approach to marijuana in the absence of a provincial plan.
The report recommends amending the smoking control bylaw to expand the definition beyond tobacco to include marijuana.
If approved, the move would ban smoking marijuana in the same areas as tobacco.
A vote on Monday would send any recommendations to Saskatoon’s regular city council meeting later in January.