Manitoba prepares for the second round of cannabis lounge consultations – Winnipeg


Manitoba is planning another round of consultation on cannabis consumption rooms – better known as cannabis lounges.

In a statement to Global News, Justice Secretary Cameron Friesen said the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority intends to hear from the cannabis industry, stakeholders and the public in 2022.

“These consultations will help guide future policy on cannabis consumption rooms,” said Friesen.

The first round of consultations, held last year, found “mixed support” for the rooms, according to a government report.

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However, opinions may have been swayed by people’s reluctance to socialize during the pandemic, the report said.

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“I really think (cannabis lounges) would give small business owners the opportunity to develop a niche market so that they can not only hold their own against the big corporations but also stand out from the rest of the people on the street,” said Steven Stairs, a longtime cannabis advocate and chairman of the Cannabis Business Association of Manitoba.

“The number of retail stores looking to expand their retail presence into the lounge consumption space market is immense. It’s not everyone, but it’s definitely a big part. “

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In part, says Stairs, that’s because companies across the country – not just the cannabis sector – will be trying to bounce back in a post-pandemic world.

The government’s initial consultation found that a slim majority of respondents disagreed with allowing cannabis consumption rooms.

A total of 800 online surveys were collected, with 43 percent of those surveyed rejecting the sites, 39 percent being in favor and 15 percent being neutral.

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The need for increased enforcement and education of the public were cited as major concerns, while new business opportunities and sources of income for small businesses were seen as opportunities.

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Stairs claims that the landscape has changed since then and the number of retailers has increased.

“The consensus between storefronts and owners was’ Let’s get through the pandemic. Let’s try to survive, ”Stairs said of the previous consultation.

“So I think this will again give the cannabis businesses an option to survive and thrive, with the ability to serve different customers and carve out a niche for themselves.”

Friesen says the second round of consultations is expected to start in early 2022.

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