Manitoba introduced hybrid public/private cannabis model

Published: November 13, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The government of Manitoba has debuted its model for recreational use of cannabis, creating a hybrid retail and distribution model that involved the public and private sectors.

Under the model, the Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) is given more power to regulate the storage, purchase, retail, and distribution of cannabis. This expanded mandate was announced by the provincial government in a press release.

Additionally, the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) will oversee securing and tracking supplies of Cannabis that is sold in the province. Under the model, the private sector will control all retail locations, while the public sector provides the regulatory backbone:

“MBLL oversight of supply and distribution will ensure safety, and retail by the private sector will ensure competitiveness and accessibility which will help achieve our goal of getting gangs out of the cannabis business,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in the release.

The premier said allowing private sector retails supports the previous decision not to co-locate cannabis and alcohol retail.

“This approach is designed to meet our objectives of eliminating the black market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and creating new opportunities in the marketplace,” said Blaine Pedersen, the province’s Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, in the release. “The private sector’s role in encouraging competitive pricing supports these goals. At the same time, provincial oversight will help maintain supply chain integrity and prevent the diversion of product.”

While the model has been announced, the government says the creation of regulations around distribution, wholesaling, retail is ongoing. This will come from the LGA, which is also still developing the overall regulator framework and licensing needs.

MBLL will handle central administration, while also taking care of order processing and supply chain management. The Crown corporation will handle all wholesale and distribution of cannabis in Manitoba, meaning all retail locations will need to buy their stock from MBLL. The corporation will acquire the cannabis from federally licensed producers.

“This is a step-by-step process,” said Pallister. The first step was introducing The Cannabis Harm Prevention Act to target drug-impaired driving and “send a clear message that driving under the influence of cannabis is dangerous and unacceptable,” he noted.