On February 9, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries announced five companies that successfully applied to provide cannabis distribution services in the province.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL), which oversees the sourcing and distribution of cannabis to retailers in the province, first announced they were seeking new applicants to handle distribution in 2023.
The successful applicants, 100 Lbs., 1CM Inc, Lineage Distribution, Kief Cannabis Company, and Valiant Distribution Canada, have entered into twelve-month renewable agreements with MBLL and now must get a Cannabis Distributors License from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA), to be permitted to begin operations.
Several of these companies have already been providing distribution services in the province as holders of federal production licences, or in partnership with a federally-licensed cannabis producer. This new licensing process allows Manitoba to further regulate and oversee these activities.
Graham Taylor, President and CEO of Lineage Distribution, is one of those companies that are already offering distribution services. He says he’s happy to see another evolution of the Manitoba cannabis market. Lineage also distributes cannabis in Saskatchewan and the Territories.
“We’re thrilled to be officially announced as a distribution partner with the MBLL and to continue expanding our services to the Manitoba market and beyond,” Taylor told StratCann.
Another company listed in this new announcement, Valiant Distribution, is owned by High Tide, which also owns the Canna Cabana chain of retailers. Canna Cabana currently has three locations in Manitoba.
Raj Grover, founder & CEO of High Tide, says they are excited to expand their wholesale and distribution services into Manitoba through Valiant Distribution Canada. Valiant also wholesales cannabis products and consumption accessories in Saskatchewan, and consumption accessories through their Calgary warehouse, as well as its experience distributing in the United States and Europe.
“We look forward to building on our record of delivering efficiency and a high level of service in Manitoba and encourage other provinces to follow Manitoba and Saskatchewan’s lead in leveraging private sector expertise in wholesale distribution and fulfilment services.”
The province’s goal in bringing on new cannabis distribution partners is to improve storage capacity to meet greater product demand while reducing delivery times, especially for small, rural, and remote retailers.
Manitoba also still allows cannabis producers to bypass distributors and ship products directly to retail stores, which is how several cannabis distributors have been operating in the province.
In June 2023, the MBLL announced it was seeking to improve lead times and retail receiving compliance, something many Manitoba cannabis retailers have been frustrated by, especially remote, rural stores. This included introducing a new 20-day purchase order deadline and a new five-day retail receiving requirement.
As of January 2024, Manitoba listed 198 privately-run retail cannabis stores, 115 of which are in Winnipeg (up from 194 in October).