Provincial

Manitoba Announces Hybrid Distribution and Retail Model with Private-Sector Cannabis Sales

By Whitney Abrams | November 7, 2017

This afternoon, Premier Brian Pallister announced the Manitoba government’s hybrid retail and distribution model “that allows both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best”.

The proposed model will involve both the Liquor and Gaming Authority (“LGA”) and the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (“MBLL”) alongside what many have been waiting for – private-sector retailers.

The LGA will regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis. The MBLL will oversee the supply and distribution end by ensuring that suppliers “provide product in retail ready packaging in quantities proportionate to purchasing behaviour and meet all labelling, packaging, and handling requirements to inform the public about the product and keep it out of the hands of children.”

Private sector will be responsible for all of the cannabis retail sales in the province, but will be required to purchase product from the MBLL. The province has indicated that MBLL will work with licensed producers to coordinate production and delivery cycles to keep up with demand.  The MBLL’s involvement will ensure safety, Pallister said.

In terms of what the stores will look like, we know that there will be no co-location of alcohol. At the press conference, Pallister noted the usual safety requirements including that there will be regulations with respect to staff training, proximity to schools and other public places.  The province has stated that it will not wait for the required legislative changes to The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Act to come into effect before beginning certain activities.  In the absence of the legislative changes, MBLL will act as an agent of Manitoba and will enter binding contracts with private retailers once they are finalized.

“Government will introduce the necessary amendments to the legislation to expand the corporation’s mandate to include the buying and importing of cannabis as well as conducting or funding initiatives that promote the responsible consumption of cannabis and cannabis products. Once legislative authority is in place, the direction contained in [today’s announcement] will be formalized in a Directive, approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and made public in accordance with The Crown Corporation Governance and Accountability Act.”

At the press conference, Pallister stated that the Province is open to the private companies using online sales for distribution to remote locations or otherwise inaccessible areas. The details of the online model were not discussed further.

The Province has issued a Request for Proposal (“RFP”), which must be submitted by December 22nd, 2017.  The RFP indicates that the province intends to select up to four proposals and intends to enter into at least one retailer agreement for each of the four proposals it selects.  The initial locations are set to open July 2, 2018.  Within one year of that date, the Province’s goal is to take over 50% of the black market and continue from there.

For more information you can access the press release here.


Whitney Abrams

Whitney Abrams

Whitney’s work focuses on providing regulatory advice and advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses in the North American market. She is a frequent contributor to Canada Cannabis Legal.
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Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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