Article by Charles Hamilton, CBC News
The City of Saskatoon says major bylaw changes could be coming to deal with legalized marijuana.
Pot venders could see higher business licensing fees, smoking the drug could be banned in public areas and shops could be forced to sell pot far away from schools.
But Mayor Charlie Clark said no final decisions can be made until the province decides how, and where, legal marijuana will be sold.
“There’s a huge difference between [cannabis] being sold in pharmacies or being sold in [the] equivalent of liquor stores that are just for cannabis, versus private stores that are already selling other things. We need to get clarity on that,” Clark said.
Saskatchewan is the last province to announce a regulatory regime for legalized pot — and the deadline of July 1, 2018, is fast approaching.
Clark said there is no use making bylaws that could be meaningless in a few months, but it’s important that the city start to think about its role.
“If we were to go and start to make predictions or develop bylaws on what we think is going to happen and then have a different outcome from the province, then we’ve wasted all that time and energy,” he said.
Council needs to prepare for legalization
A new report from the city says council needs to prepare for marijuana legalization by contemplating a host of bylaw changes that deal with everything from making marijuana part of the city’s smoking ban to legislating separation distances between stores.
“We will be looking at either amending our business licensing bylaw or even establishing a standalone cannabis bylaw to address the licensing,” said Jo-Anne Richter, Saskatoon’s manager of business licence and bylaw compliance.
Richter said the complexities of licensing cannabis means the fees for cannabis shops could higher than they are for regular businesses.