Manitoba says "yes" to privately owned retail cannabis stores

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      Today, Manitoba announced its framework for the distribution and sale of cannabis, revealing that it will put retail operations in the hands of the private sector.

      In a news release, the province reported that its Liquor and Gaming Authority would regulate the purchase, storage, distribution, and retail of cannabis, while the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation would track supply, regulate wholesaling, and oversee order processing.

      Instead of putting the Crown corporation in control of retail, as Ontario and New Brunswick have, storefronts will be privately operated. The province will source all cannabis from Health Canada's licensed producers. 

      According to Premier Brian Pallister, the hybrid model will allow "both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best."

      He confirmed to media in Winnipeg earlier today that his government would issue a request for proposals from individuals interested in operating one or more retail locations. Proposals will be accepted until no later than December 22.

      An online post of the request states that the province intends to select up to four proposals, with the goal to enter into a minimum of one retailer agreement for each one.