Pubdate: Tue, 07 Nov 2017
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Steve Lambert
Page: 9


WINNIPEG - Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister signalled Monday that the
province's private sector will be involved in the distribution of
marijuana when recreational use is legalized next July.

Pallister said details of the provincial plan to govern cannabis would
be released Tuesday. He rejected earlier statements from the Manitoba
Government and General Employees' Union that sales should be done
exclusively through government-run stores.

Pallister said there will be some sort of a "hybrid option" -
public-sector regulation and distribution combined with private-sector
delivery - that could take business away from the existing black market.

"People want to have access and selection and customer service, and
these are things the private sector has developed a reputation for,"
Pallister said.

"Our plan ... will protect Manitobans and also help us to make sure
that we're getting the gangs out of this business as fast as we can."

The premier said Manitoba will not follow Ontario's plan to establish
stand-alone government-run stores offering a set price.

Pallister's Progressive Conservative government asked for expressions
of interest in July from potential cannabis producers and vendors.
Tuesday's announcement is expected to reveal the overall structure of
sales and regulation. Some of the finer details are to be worked out

The Opposition New Democrats have called on the government to ban
private cannabis retailers in Winnipeg and other communities large
enough to have government-run liquor stores, at least initially.

The NDP, as well as public sector union leaders, says workers in
government-run stores are best qualified to ensure pot is sold
responsibly and according to whatever rules are laid out.

Manitoba's alcohol sales are already mixed. Only government-run stores
offer the full range of beer, wine and hard liquor. There are many
private beer vendors, usually in hotels, and a small number of private
wine stores.

Pallister has said the provinces are being rushed to come up with
rules for marijuana sales in time for the federal government's July 1

Like Ontario, New Brunswick has said it will use a Crown corporation
model, and a committee has recommended the minimum age at 19.

Alberta is setting the minimum age at 18 to align with the legal age
for drinking in that province. It has not decided if it will allow
marijuana to be sold through government-run or private outlets.
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MAP posted-by: Matt