Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce supports province’s legal pot plan

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce says it likes the provincial government’s private sector-friendly marijuana policy.

The chamber said it supports the government’s plan to allow businesses to sell and control the distribution of recreational cannabis when it becomes legal in July.

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“As the voice of business in the province, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the provincial government’s announcement to pursue a private sector retail and distribution model for cannabis,” the chamber said in a release Wednesday.

“Private sector retailers are best suited to driving growth and innovation in the industry by being responsive to consumer demands.”

The government, which will regulate the industry, has said the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will issue about 60 retail permits to private operators in as many as 40 municipalities and First Nations communities later this year.

The province has not yet set the legal age for buying or using recreational cannabis.

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The chamber said it recommends 19, the same as Saskatchewan’s drinking age.

“In endorsing the sales process we fully acknowledge that not all business people believe legalization is the right course of action,” said Steve McLellan, the chamber’s CEO.

“However, we realize all Canadians want a safe and legal process, rather than the Wild West that is the current situation in pot sales.”

McLellan said before recreational pot becomes legal reliable drug testing systems should be developed.

The chamber said workplace safety rules should also be bolstered, especially in safety-sensitive industries such as construction, oil and gas, mining, forestry, and transportation.

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