Cannabis NB pays off $37 million startup loan

| David Brown

Cannabis New Brunswick has now paid off the startup loan it received from the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation.

The provincial cannabis agency has now paid off the approximately $37 million that had been provided by the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, operating as Alcool NB Liquor (ANBL). This loan helped cover the creation of Cannabis New Brunswick (CNB) and operating expenses up until it first turned a profit in September 2019.  

Lori Stickles, the president and CEO at Alcool NB Liquor & Cannabis NB says, that with the loan now fully paid off as of February 20, she expects CNB to bring in $20 million for the province over the next year. 

Although there were some concerns raised by some politicians in the province early on about the viability of the provincial cannabis agency, Stickles says the agency had met its expectations and timeline to reach profitability and pay off the loan.

“It’s a big point for CNB and we’re really excited that we were able to hit it pretty much on target (for when) we thought we would be meeting it for some time now.”

Hitting these targets was a team effort, she emphasizes. 

“The team at CNB really have been focused since the beginning on being profitable and then focused on really contributing as much back towards that loan as possible. Really, I can’t say enough about the team, their dedication is what’s really allowed us to be here talking about that today.”

The province is also currently in the process of debating legislation that, if passed, will allow for several new retail stores to the private sector, as well as operating more pop-up stores that will help the province determine if other areas in the province have enough demand to warrant a new store. 

New Brunswick also began issuing “farmgate” retail licensees to cannabis producers earlier this year, changes that will be solidified into their regulatory framework under regulations currently being debated in the House. 

“It’s a historic point for CNB and really solidifies that this is a profitable business,” adds Stickles. “This will be profitable for the province and now all the money we make, every penny we make goes directly into the province, into their funds so they can use that money for important services and programs. For us, it’s just another milestone in our evolution and another way to show that this model does work and we believe that the business has a very long, profitable future ahead of it. 

“All of that money will be going straight back to the province to fund programs and services.”