Article by National Post
The Manitoba government raised the distinct possibility Thursday that it may allow private retailers to sell marijuana when recreational use of the drug becomes legal next July.
The Progressive Conservative government called for expressions of interest from potential producers and vendors in a 10-page document issued to “gauge options and possible participants in the new cannabis industry in Manitoba.”
Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said the government is willing to consider private sales for cannabis and go beyond stores run by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
“No options are off the table right now. We are opening this up to get more ideas about how to do this,” Stefanson said.
“We welcome (Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries) to give their expression of interest as well as all Manitobans with respect to the distribution.”
The Opposition New Democrats called on the government to ban private cannabis retailers in Winnipeg and other communities large enough to have government-run liquor stores, at least initially.
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, which represents liquor-store workers, also called for a fully public sales model. Even if separate stores are set up for cannabis and alcohol, they should be run and staffed by liquor and lotteries employees, union president Michelle Gawronsky said.