More answers needed on Sask. Party pot roll-out

Cabinet Ministers must clear up confusion caused by Sask. Party announcement this week

Earlier this week, a Sask. Party press conference about legalized cannabis sales left Saskatchewan families, business owners and municipal leaders with more questions than answers. Sask. Party cabinet ministers must answer questions and address growing concern and provide much-needed clarity about their plan.

“The Sask. Party have left municipal and business leaders to wait, knowing they’ll have to scramble at the last minute. It’s irresponsible,” said NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer. “The Sask. Party SLGA Minister made the announcement this week but, time and time again, neither he nor his officials were able to answer the questions being asked. The Sask. Party still won’t even say what age limit they’ll set for buying cannabis.”

The Minister announced in which communities retail licences would be made available but did not say exactly how communities could opt-out or how licenses would be awarded.

“The Minister provided few details about how the retail or wholesale businesses would work and wouldn’t even say whether or not wholesalers would have to be based in Saskatchewan,” Sarauer said. “SLGA has the experience and the infrastructure to responsibly and effectively handle, at least, the wholesale distribution, but the Sask. Party have rejected that opportunity and blocked our Crown Corporation from the obvious economic benefits.”

Municipalities are currently in the process of preparing their annual budgets and, even though they will be forced to cover additional costs from zoning to policing, the Sask. Party are still refusing to share any additional tax revenues with them.

“The Sask. Party’s delays and refusal to work with municipalities have consequences. Some cities have even been forced to cut or freeze policing budgets,” Sarauer said. “The Sask. Party must, at least, reverse their cuts to municipal funding. The provincial government will be collecting taxes from cannabis sales but all municipal leaders know is that their costs are going to go up and the Sask. Party is leaving them high and dry.”