Sask. greenhouse owners ponder pot sales

By Nigel Maxwell
February 27, 2018 - 10:00am

The federal government's plans to legalize recreational marijuana has raised some questions and some possibilities for Saskatchewan greenhouse operators.

Chris Buhler, who operates Floating Gardens greenhouse at Osler, was asked to speak to the Ministry of Agriculture on behalf of the Saskatchewan Greenhouse Growers Association. He said all the operators are curious about what is going to happen when recreational marijuana is legalized.

"We would like to see there is opportunity for growers to be able to supply some of the marijuana needs in the province," he said.

Buhler said the ministry, while offering no promises, appeared quite interested in what he had to say. Association Vice-President Gail Medernach she understands everyone will be allowed to grow four plants for their own personal use, though there are still unanswered questions.

"Our question is, where are people going to buy those plants from, what kind of licensing do we need, how do we sell them, and how do we know they are not going to every greenhouse and buying four plants?"

Gilbert Leray, with Leray Gardens at Prud'Homme, has taken the initiative to do some early research of his own.  Leray was told he would need to have surveillance systems in place, and everyone who comes and goes who be required to sign in, he said. Leray said he would not object to selling recreational marijuana out of his greenhousem as long as he knows exactly what the rules are.

"Once all the dust all levels off and we have rules to follow, then a person can be more constructive in decision-making," he said. 

Leray said another big concern he has is supply and demand. He said if you are growing something, you have to be able to sell it. 

"We've got 80,000 square feet and I could fill it up with marijuana, but if I can't sell the stuff it's not a pretty picture," he said. 

A spokesperson for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said the rules for marijuana producers will be determined after the drug is legalized.

"The proposed Cannabis Act will create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis," the spokesperson said in an email. "The Government of Canada will establish application processes and criteria for those individuals or entitites who wish to become producers of legal cannabis."

paNOW also attempted to contact MP Randy Hoback for comment, but a spokesperson for the MP said their office had not yet received any inquiries from greenhouse operators on the subject.

It appears greenhouse operators still have plenty of time to get their questions answered. The draft law is still before the Senate and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said publicly legalization would not likely occur until after July. The House of Commons is due to break for the summer June 22, and will not resume until Sept. 17.

 

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