Article by CBC News
Manitoba has identified four companies that will be allowed to operate retail locations for recreational cannabis.
The province says it has conditionally accepted proposals from:
- Consortium of Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. and Canopy Growth Corporation — Delta 9 operates an 80,000-square-foot production facility in Winnipeg and expects to hire approximately 100 people for production and retail in the first year, and an additional 100 the following year. Canopy Growth is headquartered in Smiths Falls, Ont., and operates numerous production facilities across Canada and around the world with over 700,000 square feet of production licensed under Canada’s medical cannabis framework.
- National Access Cannabis — Operates medical cannabis care centres across Canada. The organization has partnered with several Manitoba First Nations: Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Long Plain First Nation and Peguis First Nation.
- Tokyo Smoke — A wholly owned subsidiary of Hiku Brands Company, in partnership with BOBHQ, a Manitoba-based head shop that operates several retail locations.
- 10552763 Canada Corporation — The corporation is a new entity featuring Avana Canada Inc. of Ontario, Fisher River Cree Nation of Manitoba, Chippewas of the Thames of Ontario, MediPharm Labs of Ontario, and U.S.-based retailer Native Roots Dispensary.
The number of stores and locations where each group will be allowed to operate must still be worked out, the province said in a news release.
“Our primary concern from the start has been public safety, and this will continue to be paramount,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.
“We’ve worked quickly and diligently, and we’re confident that we’re on track to have retail locations begin operating in Manitoba as early as July 2.”
If the federal government delays the legalization of cannabis until August, that just means the province will have extra time to work out any wrinkles, Pedersen said.
John Arbuthnot, CEO of Delta 9 Cannabis, says he is aiming for big things with a large retail presence in the province.
“I would love to see a chain of dozens of Delta 9 Lifestyle Cannabis stores open in the next few years, but [we’re] working with the province to see exactly what they’re looking for and exactly what we will be allowed to do under this licence,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, he would like “upwards of 90-100 stores just in the Greater Winnipeg area.”
Delta 9 expects to add 200 jobs in Manitoba for both production and retail over the first 24 months following legalization.
“I really can’t understate the importance of this development,” Arbuthnot said.