Saskatoon marijuana licences could cost potential retailers $20K

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$20K licensing fee and a $10K annual licence renewal fee proposed.

A proposed bylaw for the sale of marijuana in Saskatoon could see future retailers pay $20,000 for a licence and another $10,000 per year to renew that licence.

The city's Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development and Community Services also recommends that any pot shop in the city have an air filtration system installed so that the smell of weed doesn't disturb nearby businesses. 

The report said the cash from the licences "can be used to mitigate the costs of regulation," but added that the fee structure could be reworked as marijuana becomes more established in the city.

In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in fees, they could also extend to consulting businesses that do not sell marijuana or pot-related products and instead "offer education and support for those who require assistance in the area."

Seven permits were allotted to the city of Saskatoon in a licence lottery and the names of the successful applicants were revealed earlier this month.

A $1,000 non-refundable fee was required for each application for a pot permit, bringing more than $1.5 million in for the provincial government.  

British Columbia-based Aura Cannabis received one of the seven retail licenses. Director of operations Andrew Gordon says he will work with the city and the province to do business.

"We understand that municipalities need to establish a fee structure that helps ensure that the implementation and oversight costs are sustainable, and in-line with community expectations; and so we have no objection to the proposed fees," he said in an emailed statement.

"We look forward to engaging more with the City as we progress with the application process."

Provincial regulations already in place mandate that anyone opening up a dispensary must establish a standalone storefront, and only sell marijuana, marijuana accessories and ancillary items. 

Stores must also have the ability to track and report inventory so that customers have access to safe product from regulated wholesalers.

The federal government is expected to legalize marijuana later this year.

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