Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, which will be Manitoba's wholesale supplier of cannabis after legalization, is officially looking for product.
In a call for listing posted online Tuesday morning, MLL is seeking information from legal Canadian cannabis producers that will have "recreational cannabis available for purchase prior to July 2018."
The future distributor of recreational marijuana to Manitoba's future retail cannabis stores is asking for lists of products and pricing, as well as specific details like the producer's history of regulatory compliance, expected future production capacity and expansion plans, and the "supplier's approach to product classifications."
MLL is seeking cannabis "in package sizes of: 1 gram, 3.5 gram, and 7 gram," according to the document. "Other sizes of packaging may be included at the supplier's discretion."
To date, Health Canada has issued 91 licences for legal cannabis cultivation across the country, two of which are in Manitoba. Not all licence-holders have received Health Canada's approval to sell cannabis in the existing medical market or the future recreational market, however. Only 41 sales licences have been issued so far, and some companies hold multiple sales licences associated with different production sites.
"Suppliers that will not have a supply of recreational cannabis available prior to July 2018 should not respond to this call for listing," the document says.
MLL doesn't yet know exactly how much cannabis it will need to supply Manitoba's coming retail cannabis stores, but is "currently working with retailers to determine their supply needs," said an MLL spokesperson in an email to the Free Press. The provincial Crown corporation is also working to determine whether it will be taking physical custody of that cannabis before distributing it to stores, or whether the product will be shipped directly from producers to retail locations, said the spokesperson.Advertisement
MLL said it plans to make its initial cannabis purchases "with the immediate goal of establishing an initial supply to support launch in July 2018," citing "time constraints."
Although legalization of cannabis appears to have been delayed until late summer at the earliest as the federal Cannabis Act is studied by the Senate, Manitoba's Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade Blaine Pedersen has told the Free Press his government plans to be ready for legalization by the beginning of July.
MLL's call for listing "is not a competitive procurement process," says the document.
"It is similar to the liquor listing process," explained the MLL spokesperson by email. "We are trying to create a catalogue of product available for retailers and we will then work collaboratively with the retailers to fulfill their requirements."