WINNIPEG, MB. - The Manitoba government has begun the next step in establishing a system for the distribution and retail of legal cannabis by evaluating proposals from applicants seeking to operate retail locations, Minister Blaine Pedersen announced in a press release.
“Our hybrid distribution and retail model includes safeguards and responsible measures that will help keep cannabis out of the hands of our youth and away from the black market,” said Pedersen. “While the public sector has a very important role to play in providing oversight and ensuring the integrity of the system, there is also a significant role here for the private sector in operating all cannabis retail locations.”
To meet the July 2018 timeline mandated by the federal government to permit the recreational use of cannabis, the province has introduced measures that would authorize and regulate the retail sale in Manitoba as soon as it is permitted under federal law, and allow both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best.
A request for proposals (RFP) was launched on Nov. 7 and the province received significant interest with over 100 submissions. It is anticipated that successful applicants will be notified by February and are expected to enter into retail agreements in the spring.
“Provincial officials will be evaluating applications based on the established criteria in the RFP and an independent fairness monitor has been appointed to ensure the integrity of the process,” said Pedersen. “We remain committed to establishing a highly competitive retail environment that creates new economic opportunities at the community level.”
Retail locations are projected to begin operating in Manitoba as early as July 2, 2018.
David Marshal, Manitoba Post with files from Government of Manitoba