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Manitoba opening cannabis market to new retailers on June 1

A woman smokes a marijuana joint. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Manitoba could see new players in the local cannabis market, after Crown Services minister Jeff Wharton announced Friday that the province’s pot retail application process will be open to all prospective retailers.

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“We are pleased to open the market further by allowing more retailers to apply for retail licences,” said Wharton.

“This move will enable local entrepreneurs to create jobs and support Manitoba’s economy, which is a critical step as we work toward rebuilding Manitoba in the wake of COVID-19.”   

READ MORE: One year later: Still stigma against pot use, and some Manitoba users going back to online market

The new application process, which begins June 1, is set to introduce a new controlled-access licence, while also offering age-restricted licences for retailers who want to open standalone stores.

The process, which Wharton said will prioritize new entrants to the Manitoba market, will require applicants to enter into a retailer agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, and to be issued a licence from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba.

Wharton said this phase of the province’s pot strategy will give businesses a life coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“COVID-19 has presented challenges for all Manitobans, including local businesses,” he said.

“In launching this third phase of our retail strategy, we are keeping our promise to build a competitive cannabis retail environment and supporting Manitoba’s economic recovery.”

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