Under The Dome
Hybrid plan unveiled for cannabis sales in Manitoba
Our government is taking action for the health and safety of Manitobans as the federal legalization of marijuana in July 2018 draws closer.
We have unveiled a hybrid model for the distribution and retail of cannabis, providing roles for the public and private sectors, to ensure the safety of Manitobans and keep criminal gangs out of the business while creating market opportunities for retailers at the same time.
Under this model, the provincial Liquor and Gaming Authority will regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail sales of cannabis. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp. will secure and track the supply of cannabis sold in our province, while the private sector will operate all retail locations.
Our plan allows the public and private sectors to do what they do best. The public sector will regulate and oversee the distribution and supply system, while the private sector will provide competitiveness and accessibility. The ‘best of both worlds’ approach will help eliminate the black market that has so far controlled the marijuana trade, and keep profits from cannabis sales out of the hands of organized crime. Our government’s distribution and retail model will also help keep marijuana away from children through a strong regulation of licensed retailers.
For public safety and to create a highly competitive business environment, we will not co-locate cannabis sales with the retail of alcohol. This model also eliminates a need for an immediate public capital investment in new storefronts and provides choices for consumers.
We have issued a request for proposals from qualified applicants to operate cannabis retail locations. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 22, 2017 for initial outlets to open on July 2, 2018. A diverse retail sector is the best way to meet the demand established by the market, and our government is sending a clear message that Manitoba is open for business.
Though we remain concerned about the federal government’s timeline for marijuana legalization, we have moved forward responsibly and diligently to prepare for this major change. Our Cannabis Harm Prevention Act is the most comprehensive legislation yet passed in any province to deal with the public safety consequences. As well, Manitoba Public Insurance has launched an education campaign about the dangers of drug-impaired driving, and our government will continue to make road safety a top priority.
During our pre-budget consultations this fall, Manitobans told us to ensure safety with marijuana and to keep gangs out of the trade. We have listened and are acting accordingly.
The health and safety of Manitobans continue to be paramount for our government in the face of this significant shift in public policy. Our distribution and retail plan for cannabis marks a very important step.
Greg Nesbitt is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, 1-844-877-7767 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org