Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Government announced plans to allow recreational cannabis to be sold through private stores.
Premier Brian Pallister expresses his enthusiasm about his hybrid model plan for legal cannabis. The hybrid model represents “best of both worlds,” Pallister exclaimed at a press conference. The hybrid plan allows private and public sectors to do what they do best for healthy competition in the market. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation is to take control over obtaining cannabis that will sell in private stores.
According to Pallister, Manitoba’s plan stands out compared to Ontario’s cannabis plan, which gives exclusive distribution and local authority to the province’s LCBO. Pallister is not impressed by Ontario’s framework for cannabis regulation, according to Winnipeg Free Press on Monday.
“The private sector is probably where you want to go if you want to take your family out to dinner, not a government cafeteria.” – Premier Brian Pallister
The minimum age for cannabis consumption and taxes is still under evaluation. Manitoba plans to take requests for proposals from qualified applicants who want to open recreational cannabis shops. As long as there are no plans to sell alcohol on site, these stores can remain open. The supply of cannabis itself will come from Health Canada’s 69 licensed producers.
According to Pallister, the number of stores allowed to operate will depend on the number and qualifications of applicants. Last October Alberta announced its proposal to regulate the use of cannabis through private retailers. However, it is unclear if public or private companies will operate the storefronts.
Another problem with the rise of cannabis legalisation is the illegal cannabis organisations run by gangs. Palmister repeated warnings on Monday that gangs will not merely disappear when cannabis becomes legal in Canada on July 1st, 2018. Pallister is prepared to think that gangs and organised crimes will get the advantage to control sales of cannabis.
“The business plan’s going to be laid out for the whole country, in front of the gangs and organised crime who are your principal competitors,” the Manitoba premier said late October. “They’re going to know your entire business plan, and you’re not ready. It doesn’t make sense, but we’re moving ahead at best we can to get ready.”
“This approach is designed to meet our objectives of eliminating the black market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and creating new opportunities in the marketplace.” – Manitoba’s Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister, Blaine Pedersen
The federal government is leaving it up to the provincial and territorial governments to implement their own laws once cannabis becomes regulated in the summer of 2018.