Sask. cannabis retail group says stores should be exempt from COVID-19 vaccination rules

Cannabis plants are seen at a facility in Sainte-Eustache, Que., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A group representing independent cannabis stores in Saskatchewan says pot retailers should be exempt from proof of vaccination requirements.

Last week, Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Association notified cannabis stores that their staff would need to ask customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter stores, beginning Oct. 1.

The Saskatchewan Independent Cannabis Retails Network (SICRN) represents more than 30 cannabis retail locations.

“Counter services business aren't to be included in this health order and somehow we got lumped into event venues, lounges, concerts, and things and places where people gather in huge numbers and we're just not a place like that,” said SICRN vice president Jim Southam.

In a SICRN media release, the organization said its stores were not given sufficient time to prepare staff and equipment to screen patrons.

Southam is also a store owner and said asking for proof of vaccination has caught some of his customers off-guard and disrupted some of their walk-in business.

He said stores have had to devise new ways to serve their customers who cannot enter stores.

Southam said SICRN is consulting lawyers on the matter.