FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has created a new Crown corporation to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana, and signed deals with two suppliers.
Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said Friday the deals with Organigram and Canopy Growth Corp. secure a supply for the New Brunswick market in time for the July 2018 launch.
“We’re the first province in Canada to publicly announce action moving forward on securing supply. If we don’t do that, the alternative is that we won’t be ready for July 2018, and the alternative is also New Brunswick may miss out on the economic opportunities,” Rogers said Friday.
The federal government has introduced legislation to legalize recreational weed by July 1, but left distribution and regulation to the provinces.
Ontario was the first out of the gate, announcing a detailed plan last week that would restrict sales to residents 19 and older from as many as 150 dedicated stores run by the province’s liquor control board or through the Internet.
A New Brunswick legislature committee recommended selling marijuana through government-operated stores to anyone 19 years or older, but Rogers said the government has yet to make a final decision on a retail model.
“The creation of this new provincial Crown corporation provides the flexibility and lays the groundwork for the eventual retail model once final decisions around that have been made,” she said.
Rogers said the Crown corporation will not directly conduct retail operations, but will eventually work with another entity or entities to provide that framework.
She said creating the Crown corporation gives the government control over some key factors.
“We want to make sure there’s corporate social responsibility, it’s out of the hands of youth, the product is safe and secure, how they advertise, where the locations will be, all those kinds of things