Hybrid Models and Lock-Boxes: Manitoba and New Brunswick Reveal Cannabis-Plan Details

The Manitoba government today introduced a hybrid model for the distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. Once legalization hits next July, the province will regulate the supply of the cannabis but private retailers will sell it.

Manitoba government will regulate the supply of cannabis but private retailers will sell it.

When he unveiled the plan at an afternoon press conference, Premier Brian Pallister stated that the goal was to take over 50% of the recreational cannabis market within a year of legalization and, ultimately, to wipe out the black market. When asked if that was feasible, Pallister responded by referring to Winnipeg’s NHL franchise: “The Jets would like to win every game but they don’t.”

Pallister, who has openly criticized the date Ottawa has set for legalization, repeated his belief that the legalization timeline is “too tight. A year from now we might be saying it would have been better if we had taken a bit longer.”

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Pallister also dismissed as “silly” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposal to split tax revenue from the sale of cannabis evenly between the provinces and the federal government, noting that the provinces alone will be required to foot the bill for many costs related to the legalization of cannabis.

Key points of Manitoba’s announcement:

  • The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, a government agency that regulates gambling and the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages, will secure the cannabis supply and keep track of it but private retailers will sell it.
  • The province is now accepting applications from private retailers hoping to open one or more outlets to sell recreational cannabis. Bids must be submitted by Dec. 22.
  • Successful applicants will have to meet a “wide array” of government stipulations regarding matters such as distance from schools, insurance, and staffing.
  • The province is looking for retailers who will be able to expand as the need arises.

Ideally, 90% of Manitoba residents will be within a 30-minute drive of a retail cannabis outlet.

  • The province didn’t reveal how many retail outlets will open but did say that, ideally, 90% of Manitoba residents would be within a 30-minute drive of an outlet.
  • The province is open to online sales of recreational cannabis because officials would like to see a “broad range of coverage and availability.”
  • Cannabis and alcohol won’t be sold at the same outlets
  • The province didn’t reveal the age at which individuals will be able to purchase cannabis legally. The drinking age is 18.

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New Brunswick Offers Details of Its ‘Cannabis Control Act”

Earlier in the day, New Brunswick introduced proposed legislation that touches on issues such as the legal age for consumption of recreational cannabis, possession, and impaired driving.

In New Brunswick, cannabis in private homes must be stored in a locked container or locked room.

“I think just the fact [the laws are] there, it creates awareness and just awareness in itself is a good step forward in order for people to understand we are serious about keeping children and youth safe and having those products out of their hands,” the province’s health minister, Benoit Bourque, said.

Key points of New Brunswick’s newly unveiled Cannabis Control Act:

  • A person must be at least 19 years old to purchase cannabis
  • Cannabis cannot be consumed in public places
  • In private homes, cannabis must be stored in a locked container or locked room
  • Individuals who grow their own cannabis on private property, whether indoors or outdoors, will be required to secure their plants
  • The Motor Vehicle Act will be amended to include immediate short-term roadside suspensions for drivers found to be drug impaired.
  • Police will conduct a three-step test to detect drug-impaired driving. It includes checking saliva for THC — a process that has been widely criticized as unreliable.


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