News Manitoba

Province evaluating pot distribution proposals

Scott Billeck - Winnipeg Sun

The evaluating process for retail stores allowed to sell marijuana is underway in the province.

The Manitoba government said it is beginning the next step in establishing a hybrid system for the distribution of legal pot in the province, it said in a release on Thursday.

Proposals from more than 100 applications were received after a request for proposals was issued on Nov. 7. The province says it anticipates that successful applicants will be notified in February, with retail agreements to be entered come spring.

“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,” Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen said. “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.”

With the July 1, 2018 date looming for federal legalization, the province said it has introduced measures that would authorize and regulate the sale of pot as soon as it becomes legal in the country, both in the public and private sectors.

The province expects that retail locations selling legal weed will begin operating in the province as early as July 2 of next year.

“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,” Pedersen said. “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.

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