SASKATOON -- A group of independent cannabis retailers in Saskatchewan are celebrating local and looking to recruit new members this 4/20 in an effort to push back against multi-national cannabis companies.

“We like to help one another succeed and navigate this industry that’s changing all the time,” said Ed Spigott, owner of One Eye’s Weedery in Outlook.

Spigott opened his dispensary in January and is one of nine independent retailers in Saskatchewan that are part of the Weed Pool Cannabis Cooperative.

“They’re a co-op of storeowners who, once legalization hit, realized that they were the underdog in the market. So they band together to form buying groups and to support one another in purchases and in strategy,” he said.

The Weed Pool received a wholesale permit from the Saskatchewan Gaming and Liquor Authority (SLGA) in February.

This allows the co-op to buy items in bulk and in turn sell products for less to consumers - a huge benefit to independent retailers who would usually be charged extra for smaller orders, according to Spigott.

“It helps our business exist. If we had to pay those higher prices, it’s debatable whether or not we’d be able to stay in business,” he said.

As of April 1, the SLGA began accepting applications for cannabis retail permits from communities of 2,500 or less. In September, it will accept applications for communities with populations over 2,500.

Jim Southam, owner of Prairie Cannabis in Prince Albert and president of the Weed Pool Cannabis Cooperative, said he’s looking to recruit new co-op members.

“We’ve all gained a great deal of experience with our nine members opening up our own stores and we just wanted to make that available to anybody that’s considering opening up a store here in the province so that they can access us as a valuable resource to help them navigate the industry,” he said.

Southam said supporting local is important.

“We’re really seeing support for independent players in the industry. Our 25 per cent of the stores are probably doing about 50 per cent of the sales or more in the province right now.”