Cannabis NB issues RFP for storage and distribution

| Staff

Cannabis New Brunswick has posted an RFP for a third-party logistics provider to handle storage and distribution services in the province. 

The Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was issued on May 29 and is open until July 13. The successful applicant will need to manage “all activities necessary to operate a CNB Distribution Center (DC), as well as all logistics activities associated with inbound and outbound shipments, and any reverse logistics operations.”

(Note: This article has been edited to change the submission date from June 28, noted in the first RFP, to July 4, and then again to July 13, noted in the second link above, based on changes to CNB’s posted timeline).

Applicants can ask questions about the process until June 13, 2023, at 4:30 PM ADT.

Cannabis NB has outsourced its warehouse services with a third-party logistics provider since it first launched.

A communications representative with Cannabis NB notes that this is a standard process and a continuation of this type of partnership under provincial rules pending the end of the current third-party contract next year.  

“As per the Procurement Act, we are required to go to market when existing agreements expire, as our current one does in January 2024.” 

The Cannabis Management Corporation (CMC) is the Crown corporation in New Brunswick that is responsible for the distribution and sale of (non-medical) cannabis for the province. The CMC has a service provider agreement with Cannabis NB to create a cannabis retail and distribution network in New Brunswick. The CMC provides oversight of that process, while outsourcing the management of the distribution centre to a third party. Several other provinces take a similar approach. 

Cannabis NB’s strategic plan for 2024-2026 includes references to expanding opportunities for the private sector

New Brunswick’s Conservative government has been trying to increase opportunities for the private sector since it first suggested privatizing cannabis retail in the province in 2019. That attempt was later rescinded after Cannabis NB began turning a profit. 

In 2021, the provincial government announced their plan to allow up to ten new privately-owned retail stores, with an RFP process that ended in October 2021. The province now says some of those stores could be opening in the coming months.

Cannabis NB currently has 25 stores in 18 communities and has opened several cannabis “pop-up” stores in areas with high seasonal traffic. It has also licensed five cannabis farmgate locations.