Despite extensive renovations and infrastructure investment, it appears that the chances of a cannabis retail outlet opening in Outlook after all this time may simply go up in smoke.
That’s the concern after the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) reportedly denied Dr. Jean Paul Lim’s application to open up for business. The BC-based Dr. Lim was the recipient of three permits to sell retail marijuana in Saskatchewan in the government’s draw lottery held last spring. Lim, a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia, also has the licenses to open up stores in Melfort and Rosetown, both of which also remain unopen.
The SLGA’s vetting process for would-be cannabis outlet owners and operators includes one last hurdle in the form of a final applicant review, which looks at areas such as financial disclosure, and also explores whether there is a sufficient system in place that will properly account for all the cannabis that store operators will handle.
The process also looks for good character qualities, according to a Request-for-Proposal sheet:
"SLGA is unable to issue a cannabis retail store permit to an applicant if SLGA has evidence that it considers credible and reliable that the applicant is not of good character. In considering good character, SLGA will evaluate the character of individuals, partners, shareholders and corporations as well as any other key participants in the cannabis retail store proposed to be permitted."
The SLGA has not directly commented on Lim’s situation, stating that the application process is “confidential” until it has been finalized.
Under the rules set out by the provincial government, cannabis stores in communities across Saskatchewan must be open by October 17 of this year, which marks the one-year anniversary of Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
It’s possible that if a store doesn’t open within that timeframe in any community, then the opportunity to open one may end up going to the runner-up that was drawn for that community in the 2018 lottery.
The Outlook attempted to reach Dr. Lim for further comment, but was unsuccessful before deadline.
UPDATE: Following the print publication of this article, a sign was posted in the window of the store's location stating 'For Lease', adding perhaps another twist to this story. The Outlook will continue to pursue further developments.