New Brunswick has opened requests for quotations for ten new private cannabis stores in the province.
Cannabis New Brunswick (CNB), the agency that oversees cannabis distribution and sales in the province, is expanding its store network to include a new private retail channel, in addition to its nearly two dozen public stores.
Tenders are now available for locations in Blackville, Bouctouche, Caraquet, Chipman, Dalhousie, Grand Bay, Hampton, Saint Andrews, Saint-Quentin, and Salisbury. The tenders will be open until Oct 5th 2022, 1:30 PM ADT.
CNB currently has 20 public stores, as well as four temporary “pop-up” locations. Two other stores set to open this fall, one in Saint John and one in the Moncton area.
The most recent pop-up location, the fourth of its kind, was opened in August in Riverview. The province has also been licensing new cannabis farmgate stores.
“We are looking forward to expanding our offering to include private retail in New Brunswick,” said Lori Stickles, CEO of Cannabis NB. “The goal of having private retail locations is to combat the illicit market by providing better access to safe, regulated cannabis products in underserved areas of the province.”
Farmgate licences allow cannabis producers to operate a retail store at the same location as their farm or production facility. There are currently three cannabis farmgate stores licences in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick announced their plans for around a dozen new stores as part of a bill introduced in 2021 and passed in 2022.
The move to allow new private stores, in addition to the province’s public cannabis stores, comes after the government initially tried to do away entirely with the public retail system. On November 14, 2019, the province issued the request for proposals (RFP) to take over Cannabis NB.
After long delays and facing public pressure, that plan was eventually scrapped in March 2021. The reasoning given by the government at the time for this proposal was that Cannabis NB was losing money, although the crown corporation has since then shown increasing profits as sales increased and it recouped initial startup costs.
In their most recent quarterly report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, total sales were $21 million, with $4.2 of that in revenue for the province. This represented a 22% increase in profit compared to the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.
Online sales decreased by about 1% in the most recent quarter, likely due to more in-store purchases with the lifting of covid-related restrictions. Concentrate sales increased by 25.9 percent, up by $1.1 million from last year.
Edibles sales increased 47.1%, up by $0.7 million, dried flower sales decreased 3.3%, down by $0.4 million, sales of extracts decreased 18.9%, down by $0.2 million, topicals sales increased 19.1%, up by $0.02 million, and sales of seeds represented just 0.2% of sales for the quarter at $0.05 million.
Accessories sales increased 5.1%, up by $0.03 million.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited to include comment from Cannabis NB.