Beginning in 2017, the province of Manitoba began its first of three phases in order to open up the cannabis retail market. The first phase included requesting proposals for retail cannabis stores, wherein they conditionally accepted four of these proposals. The second phase followed in 2018 when the province expanded the number of retail locations by conducting pre-qualifications of potential retailers.
The third phase, announced by Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton on May 22, 2020, indicated that on June 1, 2020, the province would begin accepting new applications to become a Licensed Cannabis Retailer. Currently, there are 30 age-restricted licenses in Manitoba. In a recent press release, Wharton stated that “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”.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) is the exclusive wholesaler of non-medical cannabis in the province and is responsible for licensing retail cannabis stores.
Manitoba offers two licence categories to applicants, the Restricted Licenses, and the Controlled-Access Licenses. For more details on these licenses, please visit: lgcamb.ca/cannabis/retail-licences/
In an Age-Restricted Store, anyone under the age of 19 is prohibited from entry. Controlled-Access Stores are licenses issued to retailers who wish to sell cannabis within a larger retail store as long as the cannabis products are not visible to the public. To become one of Manitoba’s licensed retailers you will be required to complete the application process, secure a Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement with MBLL, and be issued an applicable licence from the Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA).
Applicants may only apply for one retail location at a time. If you wish to apply for multiple locations, you will be required to prepare an individual application for each location. You should also prioritize your locations by the desired opening date. Once you have opened your doors on the first location, the MBLL will then begin processing your next application. Applicants should also note that there is a cap in place in order to restrict businesses from owning more than 15% of Age-Restricted licensed stores in the Manitoba market. Current Age-Restricted Licence Holders also need to remember that their current licenses will be applied to this calculation. It should also be noted that new entrants to the Manitoba market will be prioritized.
When applying for a Manitoba Cannabis Retail Licenses, applicants must apply online through the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries website. Fees include a non-refundable $500.00 CAD for the retail cannabis licence application, and the yearly licence fee is $1,000.00 CAD.
The following four steps will be required for a successful application for a Manitoba Cannabis Retail Licence:
Step 1: Provide the following details:
- Personal and Corporate information such as name, address, etc.
- Type of Location
- Municipality in which you intend to open your location, and if you have received approval for your location from the municipality or First Nation
- Type of licence
- Proof that you have secured income to purchase opening inventory your current ties to the cannabis industry
Step 2: You will need to meet requirements set out by both the MBLL and LGCA as summarized below:
- Complete all documentation that was forwarded to you by the MBLL,
- Register the business name of the store with the Province of Manitoba
- A certificate of insurance of store location
- Provide a Workers Compensation Board Registration and In Good Standing Letter
- Provide proof of approval by municipality or First Nations
- Duly signed Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement
- A background review of the applicant and its principles
- Inspection of the premises
- Inspection of surveillance and security systems
- It should also be noted that until a Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement has been signed by MBLL and an LGCA Licence has been issued, you will not be able to engage MBLL in ordering products.
Step 3: For first-time Cannabis Retail Store applications it is required that applicants attend a New Cannabis Retailer Onboarding Session which includes details and information on the following:
- Who to contact at the MBLL
- An overview of cannabis in Manitoba
- The differences between the MBLL and LGCA’s roles within your operations
- Understanding your Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement and Directives
- An overview of MBLL suppliers and available products
- Fulfillment including how ordering, delivery, and receiving works
- Federal reporting requirements
- Opening inventory counts
- Operational next steps
Now you are ready to begin ordering products!
Step 4: Addresses Monitoring. Once your store is open, the MBLL will schedule individual quarterly calls and/or follow up emails with you to covering: Any questions the retailer may have, compliance with the Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement and Directives, as well as provide any comments or suggestions you may have for the MBLL to improve their process.
Now that you are a licensed Cannabis Retailer there are many regulations and terms and conditions which you are required to meet and report on. To learn more about these regulations, terms and conditions, security requirements, and guidelines for reporting visit: https://lgcamb.ca/cannabis/retail-licences/
If you are looking to apply to become a cannabis retailer in Manitoba, or are looking for more information on regulatory requirements related to cannabis, contact dicentra Cannabis Consulting today.