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Saskatchewan unveiled rules for wholesalers in the future legal cannabis market. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) received 1,502 applications for the 51 cannabis retail permits spread across 32 communities.

The request for proposal (RFP) process closed April 10 and the applications are currently being reviewed.

“Interest in the cannabis retail sector was very strong,” SLGA Minister Gene Makowsky said. “The evaluation process is now underway and submissions that meet the requirements will be randomly selected for permits. We expect to announce the successful cannabis retail permittees in the coming weeks prior to federal legalization.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan municipalities to follow federal marijuana legalization guideline

Saskatoon has seven available permits and received 177 applicants. There are six permits for Regina, and 169 applicants. Both Prince Albert and Moose Jaw have two permits for retail stores and received more than 100 applications each.

Estevan has the overall stiffest competition, 61 applicants for a single permit. La Loche saw the least interest, but still 19 applications were filed for a lone permit. In addition to this announcement, the SLGA has now opened the wholesale permitting process. Unlike the retail permits, there is no cap for wholesale permits.

Wholesalers will be able to purchase dried cannabis from federally-licensed producers that are registered to supply the Saskatchewan market. Federally-licensed producers must also register with the SLGA to sell cannabis to Saskatchewan-based wholesalers or retailers.

Wholesalers must physically operate in Saskatchewan, and will only be able to sell their product to registered retail locations.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that the legalization of cannabis is focused on protecting the public,” Makowsky said. “Having SLGA permitted wholesalers and federally-licensed producers will help ensure that the supply of cannabis in our province is safe.”

Wholesale permittees must meet required criteria regarding good character, storage and transportation security, capacity and ability to track and report inventory and sales.

The retail location RFP carries the same good character criteria.

The fee for a wholesale permit is $5,000 (a non-refundable $2,000 application fee and $3,000 annual permit fee) while the registration fee for federally-licensed producers is $2,000 ($500 non-refundable application fee, $1,500 annual permit fee).

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