- Manitoba is planning a new round of consultations on cannabis consumption areas, also known as “cannabis lounges.”
- According to a government report, the first round of consultations last year received “mixed support” for the spaces.
Manitoba plans to hold another round of consultations on cannabis consumption spaces, also known as “cannabis lounges.”
Justice Minister Cameron Friesen told Global News that the Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Authority plans to hear from the cannabis industry, stakeholders, and the general public in 2022.
“These consultations will aid in the development of future cannabis consumption spaces policy,” Friesen said.
According to a government report, the first round of consultations last year received “mixed support” for the spaces.
However, people’s reluctance to socialize during the pandemic may have swayed opinions, according to the report.
“I truly believe (cannabis lounges) would enable small business owners to carve out a niche market for themselves, allowing them to compete not only against big corporations but also against the other guy down the street,” said Steven Stairs, a long-time cannabis advocate and chair of the Cannabis Business Association of Manitoba.
“There are an enormous number of retail stores looking to expand their retail footprint into the lounge-consumption space market. It’s not everyone, but it’s a significant portion.”
That’s partly because, according to Stairs, businesses across the country — not just the cannabis industry — will be looking to get back on their feet in a post-pandemic world.
According to the government’s first consultation, a slight majority of those polled opposed allowing cannabis consumption spaces.
800 online surveys were collected, with 43% opposing the sites, 39% supporting them, and 15% neutral.
The top concerns were increased enforcement and public education, while new business opportunities and revenue streams for small businesses were viewed as opportunities.
According to Stairs, the landscape has changed since then, and the number of retailers has increased dramatically.
“The consensus among storefronts and owners was, ‘Let’s get this pandemic over with.’ “Let’s try to make it through,” Stairs said of the previous meeting.
“I believe this will allow cannabis stores to survive and thrive by allowing them to cater to different clientele and carve out a niche.”
The second round of consultations, according to Friesen, will begin in early 2022.
Source: CBC News
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