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.