Manitoba Cannabis Framework and legislation

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES HYBRID MODEL FOR DISTRIBUTION AND RETAIL OF CANNABIS Ensuring Safety, Keeping Gangs Out, Creating Market Opportunities: Pallister

In order to meet the July 2018 timeline mandated by the federal government to permit the recreational use of cannabis, the Manitoba government unveiled a hybrid retail and distribution model that allows both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

This model will see the Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) given an expanded mandate to regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis.  The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) will secure and track supply of cannabis sold in Manitoba, while the private sector will operate all retail locations.

“Legalization of cannabis is a major shift in public policy and safety remains our top priority,” said Pallister.  “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.”

Private-sector retail supports the decision not to co-locate cannabis retail with the sale of alcohol, eliminates the need for immediate public investment in new storefronts and provides consumer choice through different retail experiences, the premier added.

“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 Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.  “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.”

Provincial regulation of wholesaling, distribution and retail will be through LGA, the minister noted, and a regulatory framework and licensing regime is in development.

MBLL will be responsible for central administration, supply chain management and order processing.  The Crown corporation will oversee the wholesale and distribution of product including leveraging economies of scale through bulk purchasing to undercut black-market pricing and support a diverse retail sector.

All cannabis sold in retail stores must be purchased from MBLL, which will source product from federally licensed producers.  Safe storage and shipment of product will be managed through either MBLL-owned and operated facilities and/or contracted third parties licensed through the LGA.

“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.

On July 27, the Manitoba government issued an expression of interest to determine market place interest and capability to provide services for the production, distribution and retail of cannabis.  The 60 responses received indicated significant private-sector interest in participating in the emerging cannabis industry, the premier added.

On Sept. 14, Manitoba Public Insurance launched a broad public awareness and education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of drug-impaired driving.

“Today’s announcement is the fourth step,” said Pallister.  “The health and safety of all Manitobans continues to be paramount and there is still plenty of work to do.”

The premier confirmed the province will be issuing a request for proposals from qualified applicants seeking the opportunity to operate one or more retail locations.  The deadline for submissions is Dec. 22, with initial locations to open July 2, 2018.

For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communication Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.

  Manitoba Cannabis 

In anticipation of legalization of cannabis, our government has taken a proactive approach to address our primary concerns , which are the health and safety of Manitobans , and elimination of the illegal market . We issued an expression of interest to explore options for participants in the new industry , including safe supply, secure distribution and appropriate retail sales . The responses have given us important information and further engaged Manitobans .

Our next step is to issue a request for proposals to seek priv ate sector participation for secure cannabis sales. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will play a role in supply and distribution. This role will evolve as the industry matures . This letter sets out the initial mandate for the corporation .


On behalf o f the Province, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will:

– Work with Growth, En terprise and Trade to secure a safe and adequate 18 – 24 month supply of cannabis bud and oil products for retail and online sales in anticipation of the July 2018 implementation date.

– Ensure suppliers provide product in retail ready packaging in quantities proportionate to purchasing behaviour and meet all labelling, packaging and handl ing requirements to inform the public about the product and keep it out of th e hands of children.

– Work with licensed producers on a secure logistics plan to coordinate production and delivery cycles consistent with demand.

Contracts should target market penetration of 50% within two years of legalization to help eliminate the illegal market .


On behalf of the Province, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will:

– Offer secure, safe onsite storage and ship ment of cannabis products , which maintain s a high level of control and auditability, prevent s diversion to the illegal market and leverages economies of scale. The use of third parties, with appropriate safeguards is also an option.

– Assume responsibility for the administration of retail o rders and procurement of supply to ensure integrity of the system and help eliminate illeg al sales.

– Work with licensed producers and delivery service providers to develop a secure distribution logistics plan, including options for safe storage, legal order fulfillment and secure delivery direct from supplier to retail and/or customer.

– Identif y secure storage requirements in retail stores and off – site (rural fulfillment).

– Work with the f ederal g overnment to determine the operational requirements of a seed to sale tracking system thr ough the supply chain to retail, which enables only legal prod uction, supply, distribution and sale of cannabis.

To meet timelines proposed by federal legislation, it will be necessary for certain activities to begin in advance of enactment of the required changes to The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act . In the absence of the required legislative changes to expand Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries mandate to include cannabis, the c orporation will act as Manitoba’ s agent. The Province will enter into binding contracts once finalized by the corporation.

Government will introduce the necessary amendments to the legislation to expand the corporation’s mandate to include the buying and importing of cannabis as well as conducting or funding initiatives that promote the responsible consumption of cannabis and canna bis products. Once legislative authority is in place, the direction contained in this letter will be formalized in a Directive, approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and made public in accordance with The Crown Corporation Governance and Accountab ility Act.

We are providing this initial, high – level guidance to allow the necessary work to begin to meet the July 2018 timeline set by the federal government for legalization . Staff within the corporation, Growth, Enterprise and Trade and Crown Services, will work together to ensure a smooth implementation with the goals of protecting the public and displacing the illegal market in cannabis and related products.