SUMA urging province to move on marijuana consultations

By Tyler Marr
November 1, 2017 - 8:52am

With provinces to the East and West already rolling out legal cannabis regulation regimes, the organization representing municipalities in Saskatchewan is wondering when theirs will arrive.

Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) President Gordon Barnhart said Tuesday there is “a necessity” for the province to quickly begin consulting on a legal framework for municipalities to begin structuring plans upon.

“It will be up to the municipality to pass things like zoning for outlets and for production and we can’t do that until we have a broad general outline of where the province is headed,” Barnhart said, making note of the looming and fast approaching July 1 deadline.

Alberta and Ontario have brought forward their own respective plans for pot and many others have moved on consultation. Alberta has proposed 18 as the legal purchasing age and is currently in the midst of contemplating public or private sales. Ontario is floating the idea of 19 as their legal age and has pitched publicly run marijuana emporiums.

Barnhart said “our hometowns” will be the stalwarts overseeing control of the substance and how crafting strong bylaws for these regulations cannot be arranged overnight.

SUMA has worked extensively on advocacy strategies, according to Barnhart, highlighting many meetings with former Justice Minister Gord Wyant. But with the Saskatoon - Northwest MLA now in the hunt for leadership of the Saskatchewan Party, Barnhart wondered if “perhaps that is part of the issue of trying to get the province to move.”

“Perhaps work is going on behind the scene,” he said. “But what we hope is there will be good full consultation in advance. I think our members would be able to give them some good advice depending on what they want to do.”

In a media release Tuesday, Barnhart mentioned how many growers and producers are eager to plant their seeds and set up shop in communities across the province. Though not wanting to speculate on what might happen if guidelines don’t come shortly, he said: “The best solution that we are saying is 'let's talk and let's get it going, to get the table set well before July 1.'"

“I am sure they have some capable people, but we are just saying that we make sure it is moving along as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he added. "We are going to be the front line.”

 

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