Quebec’s bill to legalize recreational cannabis has yet to pass in Quebec City, and the federal legislation is still stuck in the Senate, but the province has already signed tentative deals with suppliers — including five based outside the province.
Six companies that already have federal licences to grow marijuana announced Wednesday that they have signed letters of intent to provide Quebec with cannabis once the products are legal for recreational use.
“We’ve got to move,” said Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois. “We’ve got to be ready when it’s going to be legal.”
The tentative agreements were inked with the government-owned alcohol retailer, the SAQ, because the subsidiary that is supposed to handle the sale of legalized marijuana, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQC), does not yet exist as a legal entity.
Bill 157, which would create it, still hasn’t passed into law. That will have to happen before the SQC can transform the letters of intent into formal contracts.
Plants, sprays, powders
Gatineau’s Hydropothecary, the only Quebec supplier on the list, has obtained the largest deal.
It has agreed to provide the province with 20,000 kilograms of cannabis products, including plants, sprays and powders, in the first year.
Two other producers, Canopy Growth, based in Smith Falls, Ont., and Edmonton’s Aurora Cannabis, have operations in Valleyfield, Mirabel and Saint Lucien, Que.
They have agreed to provide at least 12,000 kilograms and 5,000 kilograms, respectively.
Canopy Growth also has deals with New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Wednesday’s news came just before the company announced it had made $21.7 million in the third quarter of 2017-18, more than double its revenue in the third quarter last year.
The other three companies are MedReleaf from Markham, Ont., Tilray from Nanaimo, B.C., and Aphria from Leamington, Ont.
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