Even though it's the Opportunity City, Weyburn residents have had no opportunity to purchase legal cannabis yet. After nearly three months since legalization, just one-third of all pot shops in the province have opened their doors for business.
As each day goes by, more questions and frustrations continue to grow as to what is taking so long.
"They've done everything they need to do from a starting point with the city," said Amanda Kaufman, Planning and Development Coordinator for the City. "I do know that there is multiple regulations and requirements from SLGA, who is responsible for regulating the retailing and wholesaling of cannabis. Depending on the scope of those regulations and requirements, I'm not sure what that looks like for a time frame."
"We've had a few folks ask, 'will they be coming soon?' but at the end of the day, the city has done all that we can to make way for the shops," City Councillor Jeff Richards added. "Weyburn was approved for two, and council approved two licenses for the city. We're always excited to see new business come into the city."
Although two permits were issued for Weyburn by the province, one seems a lot closer to opening than the other. Wheatland Cannabis and Compass Cannabis are the two businesses that will operate in the city.
"Honestly we've only heard from Wheatland Cannabis Corporation, who is the local fella that got the application from the SLGA. The other company we haven't heard from," Kaufman stated. "We've sent them application forms and tried to reach them by email, but whether they're just not ready to open up yet or they're still working on their business plan, I'm not sure. They haven't had any contact with the city."
The City wanted to make it clear things are out of their control at this point. The onus is now on the SLGA to move the process along and grant approval for permits to companies around the province. Discover Weyburn reached out to the two permit holders, with one of the companies expressing frustration over the length of the process.
Since we last checked-in it doesn't sound like much progress has been made. Although, with over 40 applications to comb through and approve, the SLGA has their hands full and hence the long delays in the opening of pot shops in Saskatchewan.
"What we want to see is success, and if that success means it takes a little longer than originally planned then we're okay with that, as long as it's a successful business." Councillor Richards offered. "Our goal, regardless of the business, is to find a place where they fit and get out of their way to let them succeed."
Once Wheatland Cannabis does hear back from the province and is issued their approved permit, the City has one final step every business must take before opening their doors.
"Once they have that and get their permit from the province, they can then come to us for the occupancy inspection," Kaufman said. "Then they can get their business license and it's good from there."
For now, Weyburn residents are still forced to travel to Regina or Edenwold to get their hands on some legal weed. Shops opening in Weyburn would obviously help the city in these tough economic times.
"It's very good for our city when there's new jobs and economics and a chance for people to shop in Weyburn," Councillor Richards said.
It's been 82 days and counting since legalization and by the sounds of it, it could be quite a few more before any Weyburn businesses get the green light on legal cannabis.