More than 100 applicants vie for up to 4 pot retailer spots
Request for proposals to interested cannabis retailers opened on Nov. 7, closed Dec. 22
There are up to four spots available, but Manitoba received more than 100 submissions from applicants hoping to sell marijuana in the province.
The province received significant interest in its request for proposals, which launched on Nov. 7 and closed Dec. 22, according to a news release sent Thursday.
According to the request, the province will choose "up to four proposals" and enter into at least one retailer agreement with each applicant it chooses.
Grocery and drugstore giant Loblaws told CBC News in November it would look at the proposal, but smaller businesses could make applications, too.
The Winnipeg-based licensed producer Delta 9 confirmed Thursday it made a joint submission with Canopy Growth, based in Ontario, earlier this month.
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The government has started evaluating the potential retailers and will make its choice by February.
After that, applicants are expected to sign retail agreements in the spring, the release says. The stores could start operating as early as July 2, 2018.
"We remain committed to establishing a highly competitive retail environment that creates new economic opportunities at the community level," said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen in the written release.
The Manitoba government announced plans in November for a hybrid model for selling cannabis in the province once the drug becomes legal next year.
Private retail stores will sell marijuana in the province, but tracking it and securing supply will be handled by the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp.
The province also gave municipalities a Dec. 22 deadline to decide if they'd allow pot sales. In the lead up to the deadline, 84 municipalities contacted by CBC News said they planned to allow sales.
Thirteen municipalities said they won't allow cannabis sales, 28 abstained from answering and 12 did not respond to or declined CBC's request for information.