Four Canadian companies signed agreements with Manitoba marijuana wholesaler Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) to distribute cannabis in the province.
Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower and grower and retailer Delta 9 Cannabis each announced a distribution deal with MBLL on Thursday.
In a statement to MJBizDaily, an MBLL spokesperson said two additional Manitoba companies, Maqabim Distributors and WETT Sales & Distribution, had also been selected “as part of a competitive RFP process to provide cross-docking services in Manitoba.”
Maqabim is a cannabis accessory manufacturer and wholesaler; WETT is an alcohol warehousing and distribution company.
“Cross-docking was identified as a practical short-term response to a growing retail landscape in Manitoba that was straining the direct-distribution model the province currently uses,” the MBLL spokesperson said via email.
“In this model, individual licensed cannabis suppliers ship directly to individual stores, which limits efficiencies of scale as the number of retailers and producers grows,” he added.
“The selected proponents are authorized to consolidate shipments across several licensed producers, reducing lead times, improving access to small, rural, and remote retailers, reducing the number of shipments to retail, and minimizing issues related to shipping delays.”
The cross-docking program is voluntary, and licensed cannabis producers “can still direct-ship (to retailers) themselves or through a third party as is currently practiced today,” according to MBLL’s announcement.
Toronto-based Fire & Flower said its Open Fields Distribution subsidiary – already a cannabis wholesaler and distributor in neighboring Saskatchewan -had signed a one-year deal with the MBLL.
The distribution deal would take advantage of Fire & Flower’s recent acquisition of Pineapple Express Delivery, the company said.
Delta 9 did not specify the length of its contract with MBLL.
The Manitoba-based company said the deal “will provide Delta 9 with additional diversified revenue streams.”
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The MBLL put out a call for cannabis distributors in February, seeking “short-term limited distribution agreements with qualified organizations until a new long-term cannabis supply and distribution model is developed that is most appropriate to support the evolving market.”
Manitobans purchased 13.1 million Canadian dollars ($10.4 million) of legal cannabis in January.