Cannabis Legalization Status
The federal government legalized recreational cannabis on October 17th, 2018, but left it up to the provinces and territories to oversee distribution and sales.
Manitoba’s government has declared that “all options are on the table” for its regulations regarding cannabis sales and distribution and before moving forward with any one framework, Manitoba’s government had invited cannabis-industry leaders to discuss the best way to distribute recreational marijuana.
In November 2017, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said that retail sales of cannabis will be done exclusively through private retailers when recreational use of the drug is legalized next July. The province is also open to private retailers selling online, and cannabis can be accessible within a 30-minute drive for about 90 per cent of the population.
The province has conditionally accepted proposals from the following organizations:
- Consortium of Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. and Canopy Growth Corporation. Founded in 2013, Delta 9 hopes to expand with the legalization of recreational marijuana to have public storefronts. The company currently produces around 1,200 kg of medical cannabis at its 80,000-square-foot Transcona warehouse, which generates around $2 million in sales annually. With $6 million raised during its first four years of operation, and plans to raise another $5 million, Delta 9 plans to list its stock on the TSX Venture Exchange. To ramp up operations to meet the demands of fully legalized cannabis, Delta 9 has plans to raise $25 million in 2018 to expand operations. Canopy Growth is headquartered in Smiths Falls, Ont., and operates numerous production facilities across Canada and around the world with over 700,000 sq. ft. of production licensed under Canada’s medical cannabis framework.
- National Access Cannabis – Operating medical cannabis care centres across Canada, National Access is committed to adapting its established medical clinic model to meet the needs of the Manitoba retail market and deliver secure, safe and responsible access to legal cannabis.
- Tokyo Smoke, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hiku Brands Company, in partnership with BOBHQ – As part of Hiku’s goal to establish a retail cannabis presence across Canada, Tokyo Smoke plans to build a network of design-forward retail cannabis stores in Manitoba with a focus on customer experience, product selection and consumer education.
- 10552763 Canada Corporation – The corporation is a new entity featuring Avana Canada Inc. of Ontario, Fisher River Cree Nation of Manitoba, Chippewas of the Thames of Ontario, MediPharm Labs of Ontario, and US-based retailer Native Roots Dispensary.
The government will maintain a wholesale monopoly, but private stores will sell cannabis products at prices they can set themselves.
Manitoba is home to licensed cannabis producer, Bonify. Bonify currently is waiting for approval from Health Canada to sell the crop of marijuana its grown in its 320,000-square-foot warehouse in the North End.
On June 5, 2018, Bill 11: The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act, received royal assent. This Bill sets the framework for Manitoba’s retail model by legislating that the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba will be renamed the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba and will be responsible for licensing cannabis stores and cannabis distributors.
Manitobans still won’t be allowed to grow cannabis at home once it’s legal despite a federal law that gives Canadians the right to grow pot at home. The Progressive Conservative government has also passed a law banning consumption of cannabis in virtually any public place – streets, parks, campsites and more – but the law is worded to only ban smoking or vaping.
With its low cost of electricity, skilled labor force, central location and cooler climate ideal for indoor growing facilities, Manitoba is being considered an ideal spot for cannabis producers.
Cannabis Market Projections
A glimpse of the legal cannabis market in Manitoba was provided in a report by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
The data, when adjusted for the province’s working-age population, points to approximately 144,600 annual recreational cannabis users in Manitoba in 2018 and 161,000 in 2021.
Aggregate cannabis consumption in the province could be 20,500 kilograms (47,000 pounds) in 2019, rising to 23,200 kilograms by 2021.
The Marijuana Policy Group (MPG), a Denver company that provides analysis and policy advice to private and government clients, says market demand could be roughly 30,000 kilograms on an annual basis – 50% higher than the government’s forecast.
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