Manitoba reaches out to cannabis industry to help shape regulations

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Manitoba’s government is reaching out to potential cannabis producers and retailers as it considers how marijuana would be produced, distributed and sold in the province when it’s legalized in Canada next summer.

The move comes less than a week after Premier Brian Pallister’s partially successful drive to convince fellow provincial and territorial leaders to support a delayed launch of Canada’s rec program.

The premiers instead said they will request an extension by November if the federal government doesn’t address outstanding issues.

Manitoba’s expression of interest (EOI) seeks input on topics such as economic benefits of cannabis, proposed costs and respondents’ ties to the marijuana industry.

Some have interpreted the move as a sign the province may be open to private marijuana sales.

“Nothing’s off the table at this stage,” Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said at a news conference.

Stefanson said the purpose of the EOI is to determine market demand, supply capacity, as well as Manitoba’s role in the distribution and sales of cannabis to meet the needs of the industry.

Meanwhile, the industry welcomed the move.

“They’re alluding toward the idea of having a system that’s going to make money for the province but also be beneficial for the customer and retailer as well,” advocate Steven Stairs told CBC News.