Saskatchewan’s marijuana business continues to be an uphill struggle for its retailers nearly three weeks after legalization.
Only five stores are currently open in the province. SLGA has issued permits to just nine of the 51 winners of the provincial lottery that decided who could open a recreational pot shop.
David Morris with SLGA said there are a lot of pieces to getting that permit approved and that some are getting close.
“It’s a big undertaking, there’s work that a lot businesses have to do on their own, including getting municipal zoning approval and meeting any sort of requirements that municipalities may have. They also need to work on construction, securing the business, plus the SLGA permitting requirements,” Morris said.
Supply chain problems causing store closures, high prices
Two stores with permits — Living Skies in Saskatoon and SpiritLeaf in Moose Jaw — have yet to open their doors. But two others — Jimmy’s Cannabis in Martensville and New Leaf Emporium in Moose Jaw — have had to close up shop because supply is hard to come by.
Next time we open, we’d like it to be open for a longer time or permanently.
– John Thomas, co-owner of Jimmy’s Cannabis
“Some producers were able to fulfil their orders, others it was in greatly reduced qualities, and then others completely backed out of their commitments,” said John Thomas, co-owner of Jimmy’s Cannabis.
Valli Kuzub, co-owner of Lush Leaf Cannabis in Esterhazy, said it will be hard to bring prices down until there is more supply.
“I think the majority of people are expecting to see that we’re able to carry product that would be comparable to the black market prices,” she said. “There’s always going to be someone that tries to sell it for lower. Our main concern is making sure it’s high quality while still getting as low of a price range as we can.”
Tim Cullen, CEO of the Colorado Harvest Company, said Colorado’s black market has taken a hit since legalization.
“The gold standard forever for cannabis was seven grams for $100 [US]. Since legalization happened [in 2014], that price has been cut in half,” he said. “You have larger scale production, you have economies of scale. Legalizing it took a lot of the fear out of it as well and that lowered the price too.”
Cullen said you can now get the same seven grams of marijuana in Colorado for $50 US or less.