The number of legal cannabis outlets around Saskatoon has grown by one.
Six weeks after marijuana became legal in Canada, Warman is the latest Saskatchewan community to house a weed retailer: 5Buds Cannabis opened its doors for business on Friday to a steady stream of people waiting to sample the product.
“Like our customers, we’ve been anxious for this day to arrive,” said 5Buds general manager Corey Tyacke.
5Buds Cannabis is licensed under Synergy Five Investments, a partnership between five Saskatchewan First Nations that won permits to open cannabis stores in Warman, North Battleford and Yorkton. Warman’s store will be the “flagship,” the business said this week. Tyacke said earlier this month that the Battleford store is expected to open before Jan. 31, followed by the opening of the Yorkton store in April.
“We’ve been working on creating the right atmosphere and experience for our customers and now we’re ready to deliver,” Tyacke said.
On Nov. 17, one month to the day after the legalization of cannabis across Canada, there were barely half a dozen options to buy legal weed in Saskatchewan. In fact, only 10 of the 51 retail locations in the province had even completed the requirements necessary to receive their provincial permits to sell cannabis — and just seven of those were open.
In the past week, that number increased slightly. In Saskatoon, The Pot Shack, located on Grosvenor Avenue near Eighth Street, became the city’s lone outlet. A total of seven vendors have been approved to operate in Saskatoon but only The Pot Shack has opened its doors.
In Regina, only one of the six permitted retail stores — The Cannabis Co. YQR — is open.
Holders of cannabis retail outlet licences say there’s not enough supply, and unique rules in Saskatchewan are making it particularly difficult for retailers to get their hands on product in the early stages of legalization when there are too few licensed producers (LPs) supplying the market.
In Saskatchewan, private retailers buy product directly from LPs. In other provinces, provincial governments play a larger role when it comes to purchasing and then distributing to retailers. Because supply is so limited, it has been difficult for Saskatchewan retailers to compete for contracts with LPs against provincial bodies that are buying much larger quantities, Saskatchewan retailers have said in recent weeks.
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