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Growing Relationships Manitoba – 2023 Synopsis

On Monday, October 16, 2023, StratCann held the fourth instalment of our ongoing Growing Relationships industry networking event series at the Inn at the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Previous events over the past year have brought us to BC, Ontario, and Alberta.

This one-day industry networking event attracted a good mix of just over 110 retailers and producers from across Manitoba, as well as producers and ancillary services selling products in the Manitoba cannabis market. 

While some of the day is set aside for formal and informal industry networking, we also start and end the event with an industry brainstorming session and panel discussions. In our brainstorming session, we encourage attendees to discuss and then share with the group some of the most common and important issues facing the industry today, from a provincial perspective. 

In our Manitoba brainstorming session, which was made up of tables of 5-7 discussing and then presenting to the whole group, a handful of themes emerged. A few of these key issues are listed below.

Summary of Discussion Items

Distribution and Lead Times

By far, the most commonly raised issue is the challenges retailers and producers face in a province without centralized distribution.

While there was an acknowledgement of some of the benefits of direct-to-retailer distribution in Manitoba, and improvements the provincial regulator has been making in terms of allowing private distributors, most retailers expressed frustration with the long lead times from producers as a result of a lack of central distribution.

Cross-docking was said to not be a useful solution to this issue.


Retailers and producers also discussed the need for better direct communication between these parties, with several producers acknowledging this and committing to doing better.

  • Retailers asked producers to be more proactive in communicating with them when there are supply chain disruptions or other delays.
  • Producers asked retailers to reach out to them if they experience an issue.
Overlooked, Dumping Ground

Another issue raised by several attendees was a feeling that Manitoba is both overlooked by much of the industry, while also serving as a dumping ground for out-of-province producers. It’s often much easier to get access to the Manitoba market in comparison to many other provinces.

Manitoba cannabis producers feel the government could do more to support local growers to somewhat counteract this trend.

  • In it together…

    “I’m so pleased to see any event where the industry can get together. Manitobans seem to have a bit of a complex about feeling underappreciated on the national stage so things like this are extremely encouraging for us to know we’re all in it together as a province!”
  • Connecting in person…

    “That we are all in the same boat! It was refreshing, engaging and heart warming to see everyone in the same room. I enjoyed be able to connect a face to the name!”
  • Important discussions…

    “Important topics in our industry are being talked about and the fact we can come together to discuss the issue is fantastic. Also, I learned new ideas or concepts to try to adapt to fit my retail store.”
  • Thank you…

    “Thank you for bringing the event to Winnipeg, the feedback I received from producers, reps and retailers has been incredibly positive and everyone is eagerly anticipating the next one.”

    Retailer/Producer Panel: issues unique to Manitoba

    Building business relationships: weed-dating

    CannaTalks Panel: Testing discrepencies

    Industry Roundtable discussions

    Retail Cannabis Council of Manitoba

    Industry Roundtable Presentations

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