Article by Lift News
The Manitoba government says they plan to implement a public distribution system and a private retail system for cannabis.
In order to meet the July 2018 timeline mandated by the federal government to permit the recreational use of cannabis, the Manitoba government unveiled a hybrid retail and distribution model that allows both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“This is really the first stage,” said Premier Pallister in a press conference. The Premier says the province intends to take over 50% of the black market in the first year of legalization.
This model will see the Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) given an expanded mandate to regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis. The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) will secure and track supply of cannabis sold in Manitoba, while the private sector will operate all retail locations.
The Premier also noted they are open to private retailers selling cannabis online and wish to see “broad coverage and broad availability” of cannabis.
“Legalization of cannabis is a major shift in public policy and safety remains our top priority,” said Pallister. “MBLL oversight of supply and distribution will ensure safety, and retail by the private sector will ensure competitiveness and accessibility which will help achieve our goal of getting gangs out of the cannabis business.”
Private-sector retail supports the decision not to co-locate cannabis retail with the sale of alcohol, eliminates the need for immediate public investment in new storefronts and provides consumer choice through different retail experiences, the premier added.
“This approach is designed to meet our objectives of eliminating the black market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and creating new opportunities in the marketplace,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen. “The private sector’s role in encouraging competitive pricing supports these goals. At the same time, provincial oversight will help maintain supply chain integrity and prevent the diversion of product.”
Provincial regulation of wholesaling, distribution and retail will be through LGA, the minister noted, and a regulatory framework and licensing regime is in development.