Manitoba to open cannabis store market ‘to all prospective retailers’

Manitoba will soon begin taking applications for new cannabis store licenses, opening up the recreational marijuana market in the central Canadian province to all comers.

Applications will be accepted starting June 1, but the province will process only one location per applicant at a time.

Applicants without any existing stores in Manitoba will be prioritized, according to a provincial news release.

“Retailers in this next phase will be limited to owning no more than 15% of stand-alone stores in Manitoba,” according to the press release. “This will be expanded as more stores enter the market.”

The province has previously limited the number of cannabis store licenses it issued

Manitoba is also introducing a new “controlled access license” to allow age-restricted cannabis stores to open within a larger retail establishment.

Applications for a Manitoba cannabis retail agreement are available through provincial cannabis wholesaler Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp.

Would-be cannabis store operators must also receive a retail license from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA), the province’s cannabis retail regulator.

LGCA has issued 30 cannabis store licenses in Manitoba to date, half of which are in the provincial capital of Winnipeg.

Manitoba is Canada’s fifth-largest province, with an estimated population approaching 1.4 million.

Canada’s latest retail sales figures show Manitobans spent 6.8 million Canadian dollars ($4.9 million) on cannabis in March, a record month for Canadian marijuana sales.