Manitoba Premier Won’t Follow Ontario’s Recreational Cannabis Model

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced on Monday that his province will turn to the private sector when it comes to sales and distribution of recreational cannabis.

Premier Pallister firmly declined suggestions from the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, which urged him to run recreational cannabis sales and distribution channels exclusively through government-run agencies.

Given that OntarioNew Brunswick, and Quebec have opted-in the government-controlled LCBO model, this comes as a huge surprise to the small business owners of Manitoba.

Alberta has set an age limit of 18 years and has not yet decided who will be in charge of sales and distribution.

Manitobans need a private cannabis model

Premier Pallister said that he hopes Manitoba will have a hybrid model, in which public-sector regulation and distribution combined with private-sector delivery will cover the needs of all Manitobans.

“People want to have access and selection and customer service, and these are things the private sector has developed a reputation for,” Pallister said.”Our plan will protect Manitobans and also help us to make sure that we’re getting the gangs out of this business as fast as we can.”

He also pointed out that Manitoba will indeed have a very competitive market, in which the state won’t have a set of government-run stores offering cannabis at a set price.

This is due to the premier’s fears that the province simply won’t be ready to set up a  government-owned distribution and sales system in time for July 1st, while the general public won’t have a problem making that deadline.

Premier Pallister was one of the few premiers who pushed for a postponed legalization, which got turned down in the end.

The New Democratic party and several public-sector union leaders claimed that the government-run workers are best trained when it comes to cannabis growing, distribution and sales.

Given that alcohol sales are done through a hybrid model, that could change quickly by training and educate people in the private sector.

Source: Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press


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