The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Commission (NLC), the regulating body for cannabis in the province, is taking a measured approach to cannabis retail.
Like some other provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador have a hybrid model of public and private retailers—cannabis is available online through the province, which also is the wholesale supplier to private retailers—but as a regulator, the NLC seems to take more care when it comes to the locations of the stores it approves.
According to the NLC website, several locations were identified where there were gaps in cannabis access, so when it began accepting applications for new stores, it showed a preference for retailers that were in ideal locations. In all, out of 40 applications, eight requests for proposals (RFPs) were chosen to receive retail licenses and open their doors. Of the new licenses, five were granted to homegrown-hero Oceanic Releaf (see their profile in the upcoming issue of Cannabis Retailer magazine), two to Atlantic Cultivation, and one to Loblaws. Three stores will open in St. John’s, with the remaining opening in Whitbourne, Clarenville, Bonavista, Corner Brook, and Port aux Basques.
Bruce Keating, President and CEO of the NLC, says that these new locations signal a big step in the development of the industry in the province.
“We are very pleased to expand retail coverage and improve consumer access, and in doing so, to continue to strengthen our ability to tackle the illicit cannabis trade,” he went on to say.
Meanwhile, the organization has managed to lower the price of the cannabis it offers by 7% overall. According to the NLC, this is natural in an evolving industry that is still trying to normalize itself, but with new locations to provide better access to quality, Newfoundland-grown cannabis at a better price, we likely won’t hear customers complaining.