Following a request for proposals (RFP) issued on Nov. 7 seeking qualified applicants to operate retail cannabis locations, the Manitoba government has evaluated the submissions according to the criteria established in the RFP and conditionally accepted four proposals, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.
“I’d like to thank all applicants who responded to the RFP,” said Pedersen. “Following a thorough evaluation process, it has been determined that these four proposals best meet the criteria outlined in the RFP. An independent third-party was appointed to ensure the selection process was fair and equitable, and I’d like to thank Optimus | SBR for providing this oversight.”
The province has conditionally accepted proposals from the following organizations:
- Consortium of Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. and Canopy Growth Corporation – Delta 9 operates an 80,000-sq.-ft. production facility in Winnipeg and expects to hire approximately 100 people for production and retail in the first year, and an additional 100 the following year. Canopy Growth is headquartered in Smiths Falls, Ont., and operates numerous production facilities across Canada and around the world with over 700,000 sq. ft. of production licensed under Canada’s medical cannabis framework.
- National Access Cannabis – Operating medical cannabis care centres across Canada, National Access is committed to adapting its established medical clinic model to meet the needs of the Manitoba retail market and deliver secure, safe and responsible access to legal cannabis.
- Tokyo Smoke, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hiku Brands Company, in partnership with BOBHQ – As part of Hiku’s goal to establish a retail cannabis presence across Canada, Tokyo Smoke plans to build a network of design-forward retail cannabis stores in Manitoba with a focus on customer experience, product selection and consumer education.
- 10552763 Canada Corporation – The corporation is a new entity featuring Avana Canada Inc. of Ontario, Fisher River Cree Nation of Manitoba, Chippewas of the Thames of Ontario, MediPharm Labs of Ontario, and US-based retailer Native Roots Dispensary.
The acceptance of these proposals is conditional upon several factors including reaching all of the necessary agreements and providing the required documents as outlined in the RFP, the minister said. In the coming weeks, the Manitoba government will continue to work with these organizations on the next stages of due diligence including the number and location of retail stores each proponent will be permitted to operate under provincial licensing arrangements.
“Our primary concern from the start has been public safety, and this will continue to be paramount,” said Pedersen. “We’ve said from the outset that this process has been rushed and it’s more important to get it right than meet an arbitrary deadline. However, we’ve worked quickly and diligently, and we’re confident that we’re on track to have retail locations begin operating in Manitoba as early as July 2.”
The minister noted Manitoba remains committed to establishing a highly competitive retail environment that creates new economic opportunities at the local level.
“As we move forward, we’ll continue to engage with Indigenous communities regarding on-reserve cannabis retail opportunities and with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities on promoting access to retail throughout the province,” said Pedersen. “Manitoba’s hybrid retail and distribution model allows both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best. This is a step-by-step process and we’ll continue to work toward our objectives of eliminating the black market and keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth.”