Manitoba became the first province in Canada to carve out a space for the private sector to participate in recreational marijuana sales, unveiling a “hybrid” model that gives entrepreneurs and the public sector a role.
The ruling Progressive Conservative party resisted pressure from public-sector unions to hand marijuana sales exclusively to civil servants.
The Manitoba government will soon issue a request for proposals from applicants seeking to operate privately owned retail locations once adult-use sales begin next year.
The deadline for submissions is Dec. 22, with initial locations to open July 2. (The federal government plans to legalize adult-use cannabis July 1, which is a Sunday.)
Manitoba’s hybrid model will give the government’s Liquor and Gaming Authority an expanded mandate to regulate the entire sector.
The Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corp. will oversee wholesale and distribution, leveraging economies of scale through bulk purchasing to undercut black-market pricing.
Here’s what you need to know about adult-use cannabis sales in Canada:
- Manitoba’s proposed system puts the province’s only two licensed producers – Bonify and Delta 9 Cannabis – in a good position to capitalize.
- Manitoba’s decision represents a sharp turn from plans by Ontario and New Brunswick to sell recreational marijuana through government-owned stores. Quebec also is expected to use a government-run approach.
- Private businesses will be barred from selling marijuana to almost two-thirds of Canada’s population.
- British Columbia and Alberta haven’t decided what their retail models will look like yet.
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