La Ronge council members have decided there will be no special fee for Aura Cannabis to set up shop downtown.
“I think I swayed the rest of council because I honestly believe … a business is a business and it doesn’t really matter what they are,” Mayor Ron Woytowich said. “I think what happened in the end is they all, for the meantime, agree with me we should not have a separate rate mainly because we don’t do it for anyone else.”
Throughout the province, municipalities have taken a wide approach when dealing with the fee with Regina asking for no extra costs whatsoever, while Saskatoon wants $20,000. Prince Albert also recently set its sights on a $20,000 fee, but other places like Lloydminster ($750), Meadow Lake ($0), Moose Jaw ($250), North Battleford ($130) and Swift Current ($100) are asking for much less. The regular business licence fee in La Ronge is $100.
Although council decided not to ask for a special fee, they will be controlling the hours of operations of the establishment. That means the store likely won’t operate passed midnight and will have restricted hours on Sundays and statutory holidays. Woytowich noted discussions to do so at a regular council meeting Wednesday were the first time he heard councillors wanted to reduce hours, adding he does agree with them as it falls in line with alcohol restrictions set to come into effect in January.
“From what I understand, it will be the same as alcohol,” he said. “People won’t be able to smoke it on a public street and they’ll have to smoke it in their house.”
With legalization set for Oct. 17, Woytowich said he’s not concerned about how it will affect La Ronge. He noted the residents already using cannabis will continue to do so, while others who have been obeying the law but want to try it, will have a legal way to do so.
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