Cannabis entrepreneurs are applauding the City of Saskatoon for being open-minded about legal retail sales of pot, as councillors discussed the issue in committee Monday.
The city’s planning, development and community services committee discussed zoning issues related to legal marijuana stores during the morning meeting, expressing a desire to have shops in noted business areas.
Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill suggested the Broadway neighbourhood as a possible destination, while Mayor Charlie Clark pointed to 8th Street and the downtown core.
“He’s keeping an eye out for the business person,” said David Deswiage, a commercial insurance broker specializing in the cannabis industry.
He noted business owners understand the conversation surrounding zoning, with councillors concerned about placing stores too close to schools or parks.
“We want to make sure the industry moving forward is looked at respectably.”
Clay Sparks, who is developing a business called Flower Power Cannabis Pharms, said he doesn’t believe rules will be ready in time for the expected July legalization date.
However, he saw Monday’s discussions as a positive step forward.
“It’s going to be nice when we evolve and look at the consumption of cannabis more like alcohol … recreationally,” he said.
Sparks, who owns Breathe Cycle Studio, is hoping to produce marijuana on farmland in the southern part of Saskatchewan. He’s also looking at opening a retail location in Saskatoon.
The entrepeneur said he had several potential buildings in mind, naming Riversdale as a neighbourhood with potential.
His plan for the retail store is to make it look like a flower shop or a café.
“It’s really nice to envision a cannabis industry where you can proudly walk through the door like you do to buy your booze for the weekend,” Sparks said.