After more than a year of negotiations, the Government of New Brunswick has finally decided the fate of Cannabis NB: it’s not for sale.
The decision to discontinue the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, which was made in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, comes after strong criticism from First Nations, officials in various cities across the province, and others in the cannabis industry.
In a statement on Friday, Premier Blaine Higgs thanked everyone involved for their patience before giving his government’s reasoning behind the decision, saying, “Discussions with the top-ranked proponent have concluded and our government has decided that the best approach for New Brunswickers is to continue with the Cannabis NB model that is now in place.”
According to Premier Higgs, the province won’t incur any penalties for backing out of the deal. While it wasn’t released which companies submitted an RFP, it was revealed that eight different proposals were submitted and ranked in an open, fair process overseen by a third-party fairness monitor.
Obviously, Cannabis NB is happy to still be in business, especially since business has been going so well.
John Correia, Chair of the Board of Directors for Cannabis NB, made the following statement on Friday: “We are pleased with the government’s decision and we are looking forward to examining how we can grow the business.”
Cannabis NB and its supporters must have made some impact on the decision after bringing to light the possible consequences of the deal going forward. According to Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves, it was not only Cannabis NB’s improved performance but also the consideration of these consequences that helped make the decision, saying that they are confident that “New Brunswick taxpayers and consumers can be well served through continued improvements within the current model.”
Industry players are, of course, pleased by this decision, and Liberals in the province, the party that had originally instituted Cannabis NB but has since been replaced by Premier Higgs’ Progressive Conservative Party, could hardly wait to say ‘I told you so’.
According to Cannabis NB spokesperson Thomas Tremblay, the organization is set to bring in $10 million in profit for the year, on top of reporting its fifth consecutive profitable quarter.