Sask. liquor vendors want in on pot sales

Hotel and hospitality association says the province’s 700 liquor stores are an easy solution to sell pot

Would you like a bag of Kush with your beer? How about some hash oil with your vodka? As the debate rages in Saskatchewan about where people should be able to buy pot, liquor vendors are now making their pitch.

“We already deal in a controlled substance, which is liquor,” said Jim Bence, president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association.

‘We already deal in a controlled substance, which is liquor.’– Jim Bence, Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association

“It’s already heavily regulated; it’s taxed. We already do a really good job in that competitive space.”

Saskatchewan is the only province still to announce details about how it plans to retail and regulate pot once the drug becomes legal for recreational use on July 1.

The provincial government has a working group, but new rules likely won’t be announced until after a new premier is chosen at a leadership convention at the end of January.

‘It’s not wine and cheese’

Bence says the province has made strides to “level the playing field” when it comes to liquor vendors — all liquor outlets are now licensed the same.

That’s why he says there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

“The idea that cannabis shouldn’t be sold alongside liquor makes as much commonsense as saying you can’t sell beer alongside vodka. That argument doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said.

But not everyone agrees.

Guidelines provided by the federal government recommended against selling pot alongside booze. Alberta, for example, is explicit in not allowing pot to be sold alongside booze.


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