Cannabis companies await green lights to setup legal weed supply chain in Sask.

Only 2 applications received so far from prospective Saskatchewan pot wholesalers

More than a dozen groups have already applied to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) to become part of the supply chain in the province’s budding recreational marijuana business.

Interest within that group in future wholesale permits has been faint, however.

SLGA says it has received 11 applications from people looking to grow product for Saskatchewan’s 51 planned retail cannabis locations. The application window for “licensed producer registrations” opened two months ago.

One company that won five retail cannabis permits in last month’s lottery is also aiming to get SLGA producer status.

“We plan on supplying stores in the province with our recreational products as a licensed producer,” said Caitlin O’Hara, a spokesperson for Tweed Grasslands, Yorkton (Canopy Growth Corporation).

Further details about applicants, such as who they are or where they’re from, won’t be released until their permits or authorizations are approved, a spokesperson for the SLGA said via email Thursday,

Pre-legalization delivery arrangement TBD

No permits or registrations will be issued until Oct. 17, the date pot becomes legal, according to the SLGA.

CBC News asked the authority how suppliers will be ready to supply stores on opening day under those circumstances.

“SLGA will work with the federal government to establish an interim measure that will allow authorized delivery of product in time for legalization,” a spokesperson for SLGA said via email Thursday.

“Once legalization occurs, actual permits can be issued. The exact process has yet to finalized.”

Different rules for producers and wholesalers

Unlike the select (and therefore highly-sought-after) retail permits, both wholesale permits (application cost: $2,000) and producer registrations ($500) are being issued on an unlimited basis, with no deadline by which to apply.

The SLGA has so far received only two applications from people looking to be wholesalers — essentially middlemen between growers and stores who, unlike producers, do not grow pot.

There are apparent disadvantages to being a wholesaler versus a producer.

Unlike producers, wholesalers will need to store their pot in Saskatchewan, according to rules outlined by SLGA.

“The supply chain has been structured to provide flexibility for businesses to structure their operations according to their business and customer needs,” SLGA said of the difference.

“However, under federal excise laws, only licensed producers can hold excise-stamped cannabis that is destined for another province. As a result, wholesalers must be located in Saskatchewan to hold Saskatchewan-stamped product. In addition, private wholesale permitting is not available in any other province.”

Producers who want to supply others in Saskatchewan will still need to be registered with SLGA, whether their warehouse is in Saskatchewan or not.

Some rules will apply to both groups, such as not having any “recognizable logo or identifying information associated with a cannabis business” on shipping vehicles.

Both groups will also need to have smoke detectors in any areas where cannabis is stored and meet many other storage and security requirements.