All things cannabis will be on the table tonight at the public portion of the Saskatoon City Council meeting. At a committee meeting earlier this month, General Manager of Community Services, Randy Grauer, explained that opening up this type of business is not the same as your average business. He estimates in the past year, at least one full-time-equivalent senior staff member has been working on the preparation for marijuana legalization. So administration is recommending a $20,000 initial licensing fee and a $10,000 renewal fee. In an effort to keep things moving forward, the recommendations were passed by committee for the fees and for retailers to install air filtration systems to minimize exterior odour impacts.
But the seemingly biggest issue will be the buffer zone between cannabis stores and sensitive areas like parks, schools and libraries. Originally administration had proposed 160 metres but a city committee reduced that to 60 metres. DeeAnn Mercier, Executive Director of the Broadway Business Improvement District says she’s pleased with City Council considering a 60 metre buffer for the city as it shows that city councilors understand that once recreational marijuana is legalized, it is something that shouldn’t be hidden from the public in outer regions of the city.
In contrast the City of Regina is proposing no licensing fee and that pot shops not be allowed to operate in Regina within a block of schools, day cares and parks — unless those places are located downtown. Tentatively the downtown Regina area will be discretionary. Regina council is also seeking to approve a reciprocal buffer zone. It means schools, parks, day care centres, enclosed rinks, public libraries, and public community centres won’t be able to setup within one block or 183 metres of an already established pot shop.