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Manitoba has potential vendors wanting to sell cannabis in rural areas

The Manitoba government says nearly 100 organizations have pre-qualified for the expansion of retail cannabis sales.

While it’s not known how many will be approved, the government is opening the door to new stores that it hopes will eat into the black market.

“Our goal remains for 90 per cent of the population to have access to retail (cannabis) within a 30-minute drive, within two years of legalization,” Blaine Pedersen, minister of growth, enterprise and trade, said in a written statement Wednesday.

The province originally chose four companies to sell cannabis when recreational pot sales became legal last October. The companies have opened 19 stores, mostly in Winnipeg and Brandon.

Last summer, the province asked other potential retailers to submit bids to be part of a second wave of store openings. Roughly 100 passed the pre-qualification test, which included showing retail experience and access to at least $300,000 in cash holdings.

The province plans to discuss potential new locations with municipalities. Any new outlets will have to get licences from the provincial regulator, which has specific requirements for storage, security and worker training.

More than 20 of the new applicants are members of the Manitoba Hotel Association.

Rural hotels often have beer vendors, which are a natural fit for cannabis sales, association president Scott Jocelyn said.

“We’re looking for additional opportunities for operators, especially in those smaller communities, to continue to be relevant, to continue to collect the taxes that they do, to employ the people that they do, to be the centre of those communities,” Jocelyn said.

The province has not yet indicated when the next round of store openings will be approved. One hurdle is an ongoing wholesale shortage of cannabis that has affected existing stores.

Jocelyn’s members, who, like others, had to submit bids by the end of last August, are anxious to find out.

“We’re kind of just waiting for the government to move us along in the next step.”

- Canadian Press

People moves: Tilray; Lift & Co.; Khiron; Cannvas

  • Tilray Inc. said Wednesday that Andrew Pucher has been appointed chief corporate development officer. Nanaimo, B.C.-based Tilray said Mr. Pucher will lead Tilray’s corporate development function, including the team that is responsible for M&A and corporate investments. He will be based in Toronto and will report to CEO Brendan Kennedy. Mr. Puchar was previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he most recently served as head of Canadian diversified investment banking, which included coverage of the Canadian cannabis industry.
  • Lift & Co. Corp. has announced the appointment of Kasia Malz to the position of chief financial officer. Ms. Malz will succeed Mr. Craig Hudson. Ms. Malz was most recently the CFO at Titanium Transportation Group Inc., a publicly traded North American transportation and logistics company. She holds a Bachelor of Mathematics and Master of Accounting from the University of Waterloo.
  • Khiron Life Sciences Corp. has named Dr. Edwin Bendek as medical director, skincare. Khiron, which has its core operations in Latin America, says the appointment “expands the company’s scientific expertise and resources for future product and brand development.” The company says Dr. Bendek brings 20 years of experience in general dermatology, cutaneous surgery, anti-aging dermatology and predictive genetics.
  • Cannvas MedTech Inc. says it has appointed Aislin O’Hara to its medical advisory board. A Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA), Ms. O’Hara spent 12 years supporting seniors’ initiatives within the public sector. Among her recent positions was project lead - customer experience for the Toronto Transit Commission’s Wheel-Trans program. Ms. O’Hara also helped develop the 2017 and 2018 Toronto Seniors Strategy and the Toronto HomeShare Pilot.


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