Unlucky cannabis applicants critical of Sask. government's lottery process

Pat Warnecke didn’t hold out much hope he would be selected in the Saskatchewan government’s cannabis retail licence process.

“Nowhere in the RFP (request for proposals) did I ever see that if you had anything to do with the cannabis industry before, or if you had anything to do with a dispensary, that you’re not eligible for the system or not eligible to apply,” said Warnecke, owner of Best Buds Society, which operated cannabis dispensaries in Regina and Saskatoon.

“It doesn’t look like anybody who was part of any dispensary got into any of these here.”

Warnecke believes the government has done the province a disservice by driving away cannabis industry leaders.


Get to know your local (legal) pot sellers: Weyburn, Sask., edition

"Now what?"

That's what Torrance Aitken remembers thinking when he found out he'd won one of Saskatchewan's 51 coveted retail cannabis permits.

Four weeks later, there are still some things about the new legal pot industry that Aitken, a 34-year-old oil and gas well tester in Weyburn, Sask., can only guess at.

"I really don't have any idea how it will go," he said Wednesday. 

But Aitken didn't want to miss out on what he saw as a unique business opportunity.

The Saskatchewan government was only allowing two pot shops to operate in Weyburn, population 10,870.

Torrance Aitken, a Weyburn-area oil and gas well tester who won one of Weyburn's two pot permits, says he'll operate both businesses simultaneously. (Torrance Aitken)


Smoking bylaw pushed back

Any enthusiasm to pass amendments to the current smoking bylaw to include approaches on how to deal with recreational cannabis appears to have gone up in smoke.

At least, for the time being.

Coun. Deanna Lennox put forward a motion during the June 12 regular city council meeting to put off any decision making on the current smoking bylaw until August. The Fort, like many municipalities, has been working to figure out how to tackle marijuana once it becomes legalized in Canada.


Saskatoon marijuana licences could cost potential retailers $20K

$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.


Two cannabis retail store permits selected for Weyburn by SLGA

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Association selected the operators for the province’s 51 cannabis retail store permits.  More than two-thirds of these successful applicants are from Saskatchewan or have operations in the province.

Receiving the Weyburn permits will be Torrance Aitken of Weyburn and Compass Cannabis Clinic, which operates in B.C. and Alberta.


Future Sask. pot sellers assessing how online sales will figure into business model

Province wants online sales kept inside Sask. borders.

Andrew MacCorquodale says Canopy Growth Corporation is going to sell recreational marijuana online when it becomes legal, but how much of the company's business will come through the internet is a wild card.

Canopy emerged as one of the big winners in the lottery to see which applicants get to sell pot legally in Saskatchewan. The company won five of the 51 permits — the largest single allotment in the province.

Canopy already supplies medical marijuana to patients with legal prescriptions. MacCorquodale said it will draw on that model when setting up the recreational side.

MacCorquodale said it's going to be interesting to see how the online side of the business evolves.


Cannabis permit holder plans for expansion, more staff

Now that 51 operators for Saskatchewan’s cannabis retail stores are selected, the real work begins according to the president of one of the two successful applicants for the permits in North Battleford.

James Davey of Curativa Cannabis, a division of Envirosafe Chemicals Canada said his company was honoured to be part of the historical marijuana movement in Canada, especially with the amount of competition there was for the permits.

“When you think that there was a four per cent chance of being selected for one of the retail permits, it really is quite remarkable,” Davey told battlefordsNOW. “We are certainly proud to bring the cannabis retail business and opportunity to North Battleford.”


More to do for successful pot retailers

As legalization of marijuana approaches in Canada, 51 cannabis retail applicants in Saskatchewan are under review.

The province will look at each application and decide whether to grant permits to legally sell marijuana to the public once it is legalized later this fall.

Allen and Denise Kilback in the R.M. of Edenwold were granted a permit. The couple owns the Happy Hour Liquor Store in Pilot Butte. They hope to make a pot shop that is similar. The Kilbacks have visited stores in the United States, and want their store to provide a world class, safe feeling.

"It’s going to be a high end dispensary. Where people are going to want to come to, and feel safe, and have excellent customer service,” Kilback said.


'We're very excited to get rolling': Big winner in marijuana lottery has big connections

Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton — owned by an international company — won five of 51 pot permits in Sask.

The biggest winner of last week's lottery-style draw for permits to sell marijuana in Saskatchewan is a well-known player on the international cannabis and hemp scene. 

Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton (Canopy Growth Corporation) won five of the 51 available permits. Provided it meets necessary requirements, such as criminal record checks, the company will be able to open shops in Fort Qu'Appelle, Humboldt, Meadow Lake, Melville and the R.M. of Corman Park.

Canopy Growth Corporation, which owns Tweed, is an international cannabis and hemp company with connections to multiple brands and recognizable people in the cannabis industry, including rapper Snoop Dogg.


At 23, student entrepreneur has won 1 of 7 permits for Saskatoon cannabis retail stores

Cierra Sieben-Chuback says permit offer is like 'my birthday on steroids'.

Saskatoon business school student Cierra Sieben-Chuback has beaten out more more than 150 other candidates for one of seven highly sought-after permits to operate a cannabis retail store in the city.

Sieben-Chuback, 23, has never run her own business before, but that's about to change very quickly.

"I convocate on Wednesday," she said of her impending graduation from the University of Saskatchewan's Edwards School of Business.

"It's like my birthday on steroids. This is quite surreal, I'm not going to lie."

'All by myself'


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