Legal pot shops in Saskatoon could face financial buzz kill due to high fees

Legal pot shops in Saskatoon could face financial buzz kill due to high fees

SASKATOON — Legal marijuana shops in Saskatoon could face a potential financial buzz kill.

The city is considering a $20,000 licensing fee for a pot shop’s first year of operation and a $10,000 annual renewal charge.

Why so high?

The usual licensing fee to open other types of commercial businesses in Saskatoon is $125.

Randy Grauer, general manager of Saskatoon's community services department, said the substantial fees would reflect the cost of administering this new and complex type of business.

If approved by city council, the fees would be part of Saskatoon's cannabis licence bylaw.

"This business environment was thrust upon municipalities and the licence fees reflect our costs," Grauer said in a statement Tuesday. 

Recreational cannabis is to be legalized later this year by the federal government.

Cierra Sieben-Chuback, a business school graduate who obtained one of the provincial permits to operate a cannabis retail shop in Saskatoon, said such fees would be a challenge.

"It won’t prohibit me from opening," she said. "But it’s a matter of how long it’ll take me to break even."

So far seven pot business licences have been approved for Saskatoon.

A report from the city administration also suggests cannabis retailers should be required to install air filtration systems to minimize odours around neighbouring properties.

The proposals are to be brought to a Saskatoon city council committee on Wednesday. (CKOM)

 

CKOM, The Canadian Press