Manitoba announces new cannabis product freshness criteria

| David Brown

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) is putting new rules in place to ensure cannabis sold in the province is fresher. 

The provincial agency sent a notice to producers on June 26 informing them of new “product freshness criteria” coming into effect July 15 for cannabis flower, edibles, some extracts, and topicals.

As of that date, all cannabis flower, including infused flower products sold into the Manitoba market, must arrive at the retailer no later than nine months from the packaging date.

All edible cannabis products with no “best before” date must also arrive at the retailer no later than nine months from the packaging date. Those edibles with a “best before” date must arrive at the Retailer 60 calendar days or more prior to the Best Before date.

Cannabis topicals must also arrive at the Retailer no later than nine months from the packaging date, but cannabis extracts other than infused flower products will have no packaging date limitations. 

Cannabis retailers in Manitoba will also be allowed to refuse delivery or return products that do not follow these new freshness rules. A credit will be issued to the retailer in such cases, at the supplier’s expense. Suppliers can choose to issue a credit in the case of a customer return. 

The move from Manitoba comes as other provinces seek to manage a growing inventory of older products. Alberta’s AGLC announced it would be delisting more than 500 slow-moving SKUs in May. BC recently announced similar changes to its policies for accepting new products and storing existing products as the industry closes in on six years of operation. 

Unlike most other provinces, Manitoba does not operate its own distribution centre for cannabis sold in its territory, but instead allows producers to ship directly to retailers. They have also recently begun licensing Cannabis Distributor Licenses to third parties offering distribution services. As of June 20, they have licensed four of these businesses.

Manitoba currently has 206 private retail cannabis stores, 124 of which are in Winnipeg.

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