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Saskatchewan pot retailers face lottery draw

Private retailers will be allowed to handle pot sales - if they're lucky enough to be chosen by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority lottery


Potential marijuana retailers in Saskatchewan will be chosen by a lottery as the province has opted to allow private outlets to handle pot sales, according to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).

Both wholesaling and retailing of cannabis will be conducted by the private sector and regulated by the SLGA, said Gene Makowsky, minister responsible for SLGA. 

The SLGA plans to issue about 60 cannabis retail permits in about 40 municipalities and First Nation communities. 

The federal government has stated that marijuana sales will be legalized as of July 1, 2017, which is when Saskatchewan’s first cannabis outlets are expected to open.

Retailers will be selected based on a lottery and licences should be awarded by March 1. Winning retailers will be allowed a single marijuana outlet in any community.

“Our government is being diligent to ensure the sale and regulation of cannabis in Saskatchewan strikes a balance between public safety and access for consumers,” Makowsky said in a news release.

Municipalities and reserves will retain the right to refuse permits for marijuana retailers.