We should know by next week who will get a license to sell cannabis in Virden and six other Manitoba communities.
The selection process for the province’s cannabis retail rollout will take place on Wednesday, May 15, said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.
“We made a commitment to ensure 90 per cent of Manitobans have access to a cannabis store in a 30-minute drive from home within two years of legalization,” he said when announcing the date of the draw.
“The selection process is the next step in meeting this goal.”
Nearly 100 applicants were pre-qualified by the province to operate cannabis retail stores in Virden, Altona, Flin Flon, Lac du Bonnet, Niverville, the RM of Russell-Binscarth, and Swan River.
Each pre-qualified retailer will receive one ballot per community, and one winning ballot will be drawn randomly for each of the seven communities.
The winning applicants will be announced after the draw on May 15 and can then proceed through the agreement and licensing process.
(A second ballot will also be drawn to be the standby retailer who will be called upon if the primary retailer is unable or unwilling to open a store.)
The province’s retail cannabis webpage says limiting the new stores to seven instead of having an open market was necessary because of a shortage of cannabis on the Canadian market.
“Allowing retailers limited additional opportunities to establish cannabis retail stores in select communities helps the province to meet its access goals while limiting industry expansion in the absence of adequate cannabis supply.”