New Brunswick is the first province incorporating private cannabis retail

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It was reported yesterday, that the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation (NBLC) has released a call for bids for retail cannabis locations in the province. This makes New Brunswick the first province in Canada to announce a private retail integration with cannabis legalization.

The NBLC, which is responsible for the purchase, importation, distribution and retail of liquor in New Brunswick, is calling for bids for 15 different retail locations.

The call for tender, or bid, says the crown corporation is looking for 3,000+ sq ft locations across the province and has a deadline for application of November 10, with requirements for things like parking and delivery truck space. A ‘bid security’ of $5,000 must be included with each bid.

The province requires that the locations be “substantially completed” by May 31, 2018. Listed locations are Moncton, Fredericton, Oromocto, Greater Saint John, Bathurst, Edmundston, Sackville, Shediac, Miramichi, Sussex, St. Stephen, Richibucto, Tracadie, Perth-Andover and the Campbellton area. [Lift]

Just last month, New Brunswick announced they were going with a crown corporation distribution model for cannabis, but were undecided on retail. However, it’s already been announced that Organigram and Canopy Growth Corp. are working with the New Brunswick government to provide supply for the retail stores in that province.

This proposed retail framework for cannabis is exactly the kind of model we would like to see the Alberta government implement as well.

Alberta does not have any retail infrastructure to build on, and would be in a much more difficult position to build out a government owned retail network. Independently owned stores, licenced by AGLC, would be able scale up much faster, and would be able to provide Albertans with enough stores to serve Albertans. Criminal background checks and proper vetting of potential operators will ensure that only reputable businesses sell cannabis.

Albertans have access to numerous suppliers and literally hundreds of strains through the black market currently.  Albertans have also been able to purchase liquor through their choice of independently owned liquor outlets in Alberta since 1993. This has allowed Albertans access to a large variety of products, and a number of different purchasing experiences. Independently owned retail cannabis stores would create competition, which would increase the variety of cannabis products available to consumers. Retailers would quickly specialize, in order to best service their clientele. Some would focus on price point, some would focus on providing the most possible variety, and some would provide a high end concierge level of personized service. A government model would not provide this level of diversity which Albertans expect. The government owned stores would not likely be able to provide this variety, and give less incentive to consumers buying legal cannabis.

Independent retailers can open stores much more quickly than a government (public) model. This would mean thousands more jobs for Albertans by independently owned stores.

As the Alberta government has not yet made a decision on government-run versus private cannabis retail, they are asking Albertans to fill out this survey online before October 27th. We urge Albertans to take action and have their voices heard on this proposal, by taking the short survey.

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