Provincial Preview: Saskatchewan is ‘ground zero for the green rush’

(This is the seventh installment in a collection over the subsequent few months that may take a look at the marijuana markets in every of Canada’s provinces and territories. Other installments: Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.)

The Land of Seed and Honey is throwing its doorways extensive open to the marijuana business.

Saskatchewan’s mannequin is being hailed as the greatest in Canada when it comes to creating alternatives for entrepreneurs.

Why the enthusiasm? Everything from retail to wholesale distribution and on-line gross sales might be left to the personal sector – a pointy distinction to the taxpayer-funded marijuana industries in the works for Ontario and Quebec.

“One of the biggest advantages in Saskatchewan is the pro-business government. They are actively attracting business startups,” stated Jeremy Vokins, co-founder of Saskatchewan-based licensed producer Agro-Greens Natural Products.

“Saskatchewan is ground zero for the green rush.”

The benefits embrace:

  • A professional-business authorities eager to see entrepreneurs succeed.
  • Low-cost energy – particularly useful for cultivators.

Saskatchewan’s impending leisure marijuana business might generate 250 million Canadian dollars ($195 million) in financial exercise per yr, in response to a research by the University of Saskatchewan.

Jason Childs, affiliate professor of economics at the University of Regina and considered one of the report’s authors, stated the Saskatchewan’s system might permit it to seize a bigger share of the black market than provinces with heavy authorities interference.

“It’s significant … they have a reasonable chance of getting more than half (of the black market) in the first year,” he stated.

The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act was launched in the province’s Legislative Assembly on March 14, and the authorities plans to move the invoice in the coming weeks.

Market snapshot

A report produced by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) paints a tough image of what the authorized hashish market in Saskatchewan might appear to be after adult-use legalization is carried out throughout Canada, which is anticipated late this summer time.

The knowledge, when adjusted for the province’s working-age inhabitants, estimates 123,300 annual leisure hashish customers in Saskatchewan in 2018 and 138,000 in 2021.

Aggregate hashish consumption in the province might be 17,480 kilograms (38,000 kilos) in 2019 and rise to 19,700 kilograms by 2021.

Like neighboring Alberta, demographics recommend Saskatchewan will proceed to be a hotbed for medical hashish.

Saskatchewan has about 770 medical registrants per 100,000 individuals. While that’s not as many as Alberta’s 2,543 per 100,000 individuals, it tops Manitoba’s 502 sufferers per 100,000 individuals.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have solely 297 and 343 individuals registered to develop personal-use medical hashish, respectively.

When all taxes are taken under consideration, the province might add CA$50 million to its coffers from authorized marijuana, in line with Childs.

“It’s a big deal, but it’s not going to completely pull the government out of deficit,” he stated.


Executives and aspiring entrepreneurs say the province is ripe with alternative, together with companies involving:

  • Cannabis-related tourism
  • Lab providers to measure high quality assurance
  • Pest administration for cultivators
  • Security for retailers, wholesalers and cultivators
  • Transportation for the entire provide chain
  • Consumer schooling on merchandise and consumption

As with different provinces, Canada’s proposed licensing system will current a lot of alternatives for personal companies.

These embrace:

  • Micro-cultivation license holders might be licensed for the similar actions as commonplace growers, however on a smaller scale.
  • Nursery license holders could possibly be permitted to supply seeds and seedlings, together with clones, for sale to different licensed producers and researchers.
  • Microprocessing license holders might produce hashish oil for sale to different LPs and researchers. The similar license will even permit for packaging and labeling product gross sales to the public.

Retail and distribution

Saskatchewan’s business-friendly framework for leisure hashish gross sales calls for the institution of 51 privately owned shops no later than 12 months after legalization.

Retail candidates in Saskatchewan should full a two-part course of that features preliminary screening and entry right into a lottery of certified candidates.

The variety of retail gross sales licenses shall be capped for the first three years of legalization.

“On the retail side of things, they’ve largely got it right,” famous Deepak Anand, vice chairman of presidency relations for the consultancy Cannabis Compliance. “Saskatchewan’s model, with complete privatization, is the best model.”

Dan Rowland, an unbiased marketing consultant with 420 Advisory Management in Denver, stated Saskatchewan’s mannequin “leaves room for true vertical integration if LPs are also awarded retail licenses.”

“It’ll be interesting to see the province’s approach to that and what interest it has in supporting smaller businesses,” he stated.

The province is certainly one of the few in Canada that may permit personal retailers to promote their merchandise on-line.


Saskatchewan is residence to solely 4 licensed producers.

Vertical integration would assist increase their revenue margins, giving them a slight benefit over growers in different provinces that ban it.

“Saskatchewan is the only province that will not have the government acting as a centralized wholesaler and distributor,” famous Alex Shiff, strategic adviser for Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada.

“The province will allow for private companies to fill this role, which provides another opportunity for businesses to play in the cannabis supply chain, as well as ensure potentially better margins for producers compared with jurisdictions where the government will be embedded in the supply chain.”

Matt Lamers may be reached at [email protected]

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