Sask. pot store credits government's hands-off approach for improvement of supply chain

Like many marijuana entrepreneurs across the province, John Thomas's biggest concern when he opened his first store was supply.

Thomas is the co-founder of Jimmy's Cannabis Shop, which has locations in Battleford, Estevan and Martensville with another opening in Moosomin this Saturday. He said the stores initially struggled to get enough marijuana to reliably operate.

He was forced to close the Martensville location just days after opening due to running out of product.

Now, six months after legalization, supply is becoming much less of an issue. Thomas said the province's laissez-faire approach to the supply issue is part of the reason.


‘Not a big money maker’: Province projects $5 million from cannabis sales this year

One aspect of the provincial budget is always the projected revenue from taxes and this year one of those is the tax from legal cannabis sales.

But the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union says the revenue projection seems low.

“We think the government has grossly missed the mark when it comes to the sale of marijuana in this province,” President of SGEU Bob Bymoen told CTV News following the budget’s release Wednesday.

The provincial budget shows roughly $5 million as the projected revenue this year from legal cannabis sales.

“The $5 million isn’t going to be enough to even offset the training and education, enforcement and dealing with the societal issues that stem from making marijuana legal,” Bymoen said.


Saskatchewan Budget 2019: Province expecting marijuana tax revenues to bring in $5M

The Government of Saskatchewan is banking on pot sales to make a small contribution to this year's bottom line.

The 2019-20 budget estimates the province will make $5 million this year, the first full year of legalization.

The province expects PST on pot sales will bring in $2 million while federal excise tax is expected to account for $3 million.

For the province to generate $2 million in PST, total pot sales would need to equal $33.3 million. in the first three months of legalization, Saskatchewan trailed the rest of the country in sales, bringing in only $2.5 million.

Like many jurisdictions, Saskatchewan marijuana sales were hindered by supply problems in the first months of legalization, with many stores closed due to lack of product. 


No pot for tots: Child safety advocate warns of dangers of marijuana ingestion

For National Poison Prevention Week, March 17-23, the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute is cautioning parents to be aware of what their little ones could get into — including their marijuana.

Marijuana has the potential to be dangerous to children if ingested because of their size and weight. Marijuana-laced edibles pose a risk because they can look and taste like their unlaced counterparts. Children could eat a large amount quickly and become ill as a result.  

“The danger with (edibles) is that we don’t know how much THC is in them,” said Dr. Simon Kapaj, a medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “That can be a … concern because children are more sensitive to this harmful substance.”


Former employee outlines 'everyday drama' at Saskatoon's rogue cannabis dispensary

The young man says he was running down the alley behind Second Avenue South with a jar of marijuana in each hand, sure the police were hot on his heels, when he decided to rethink his career choice.

He worked at the Saskatoon Cannabis Clinic, an illegal dispensary with no city business licence, no licence from the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority to sell cannabis recreationally, and no recognition from Health Canada as a legitimate medical cannabis supplier.

The business had already been raided three times in the past three months, reopening each time in defiance of police and government.

I essentially feel like a little small-time drug dealer. It's not what I am, it's not who I want to be."- Former Saskatoon Cannabis Clinic employee


No cannabis-related spike noted in impaired driving after legalization

Pre-October, with the country moving toward cannabis legalization, police and lawyers geared up for what was expected to be a rash of impaired driving offences related to the drug.

Instead — in Regina, at least — crickets.

“I don’t have numbers, but I’ll use the word ‘low,’ ” Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray said recently at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting when questioned by reporters on the issue. “We have not laid a lot of (cannabis-related) impaired driving charges. In fact, I don’t think we’ve laid any impaired driving charges as a result of cannabis.”

City police spokesman Les Parker confirmed it, stating the current numbers for cannabis-related impaired driving are “zero, unless other charges are mislabeled.”


Saskatchewan First Nation files claim in court over cannabis dispensary

A First Nation operating a cannabis dispensary without a provincial permit has laid the groundwork for taking the federal and Saskatchewan governments to court.

The Muscowpetung First Nation filed a statement of claim in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench on Nov. 16, the same week the band opened a pot shop on its reserve northeast of the city.

The store Mino-Maskihki, which means “good medicine,” advertises on its Facebook page the sale of recreational and medicinal cannabis products.

Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada last October and Saskatchewan used a lottery to award 51 licences to sellers.


Sask. sales of cannabis lower than any other province in Canada in 2018

In the first months after the legalization of cannabis, sales at cannabis stores in Saskatchewan were lagging behind every other province in the country, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Across Canada, $151.5 million in cannabis was sold from the date of legalization on Oct.17, 2018, to the end of December. 

Saskatchewan cannabis stores sold just under $2.5 million in product in that time, below Prince Edward Island's sales of just under $3.4 million. P.E.I.'s population is about 150,000 people, compared with Saskatchewan's population of just under 1.2 million.

In comparison, people in Saskatchewan spent $227.7 million at beer, wine and liquor stores in the months from October to December. 


Health Canada recalls two cannabis strains sold in Sask. pot shops

Health Canada has recalled two cannabis strains which were sold in three stores in Saskatchewan.

The recalls involve the 3.5 grams of Cherry Lime and Warlock Kush cannabis strains produced by Bonify Ltd. which is based out of Manitoba.

According to the alert, 52 units of product were sold at three cannabis retailers: Cannabis Co. in Regina, Spiritleaf in Moose Jaw, and The Pot Shack in Saskatoon. The affected cannabis products were sold between November 20 and November 30.

Although the national public health organization hasn’t received any complaints yet, it said the products do not meet some of the microbial and chemical contaminant limits set by federal cannabis regulations.


From herbs to weed: Saskatoon market gardener EcoBain plans switch to marijuana

If everything goes according to plan, Brian Bain will convert his Saskatoon market garden to a marijuana nursery by next year. 

He said it's a matter of economics.

"All of a sudden, you have a crop that comes along, that you can pay your employees better, you can pay yourself better and the business itself will do better," he told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "It's really hard not to make that switch."

Right now, Bain grows herbs like mint, chives, dill and basil and sells them to grocery stores across western Canada. He plans to convert his hydroponic garden to a nursery that will sell live pot plants to licensed stores. 

Bain said margins in the produce business are tight and it can be difficult to make money.


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