February 6, 2018
With a new leader in place, the Saskatchewan government should take the opportunity to make a common-sense change to its plans for cannabis distribution, according to SGEU.
In its January 8 announcement, the provincial government declared that the private sector will handle both the wholesaling and retailing of cannabis in Saskatchewan. That decision set Saskatchewan apart from every other province, all of which have adopted a publicly-owned wholesaling and distribution model.
“All across Canada, provincial governments – regardless of their ideology – have recognized that it simply makes sense to entrust the wholesaling and distribution side of the cannabis business to existing government-run entities,” says Bob Stadnichuk, chair of SGEU’s Retail/Regulatory Bargaining Committee, which represents workers at the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA.)
“Here in Saskatchewan, we have an established and extremely efficient distribution network already in place. SLGA has been the provincial liquor wholesaler for decades, and has the expertise and infrastructure to quickly and cost-effectively begin distributing cannabis as well.”
As other provinces have noted, public wholesalers like SLGA can use their economies of scale and bulk purchasing power to keep prices down, which will help undercut the black market.
Though it has announced a private distribution system, government has not provided any indication of how the system will work, or how it will be put in place before cannabis becomes legal in July. The government makes only a passing mention of wholesaling in its January 8 news release, and has not issued any further details since.
“It’s clear that the Sask Party government has let its ideology steer it into making the wrong decision,” says Stadnichuk. “With the deadline fast approaching, instead of entrusting cannabis wholesaling to SLGA’s highly- capable existing distribution network, government has decided on a private system for which it has provided no details and no explanation.”
Stadnichuk says that as premier Scott Moe takes on his new role, this is a chance for him to distinguish himself, and generate much-needed revenue for the province, by reversing his government’s ill-thought-out policy on cannabis wholesaling.
“Scott Moe has stressed his respect and admiration for Brad Wall, and Wall has repeatedly said that government needs to recognize and fix its mistakes,” says Stadnichuk. “Moe has a perfect opportunity here to take his mentor’s words to heart, by changing course and adopting the same common-sense approach to pot distribution that every other province has taken.”
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For more information contact:
Chair, Retail/Regulatory Bargaining Committee