The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) has signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with 31 federally licensed cannabis producers (LP) to supply the recreational market come fall.
In a news release today (July 11), the LDB, the sole authority charged with legal cannabis distribution in the province, says the selection will “form an extensive and competitive wholesale product assortment” that offers over 150 strains. The release says licensed retailers will be able to offer a spectrum of quality, from value to ultra-premium, at “competitive” price points.
The list, which represents just under a third of the country’s licensed producers, is the largest and most diverse spectrum of wholesale producers announced by a province since Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, received Royal Assent in June.
The LDB says it selected LPs, which includes globally-expanding leviathans Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corp., based on those who fulfilled their request for information process and are able to supply a sufficient amount of cannabis after October 17, the official date of legalization.
“We are thrilled to be reaching this significant milestone in developing a competitive wholesale assortment for non-medical cannabis,” said Blain Lawson, LDB’s general manager and CEO, in the release.
“The volume, variety and quality of our product assortment speak to the LDB’s commitment to working towards eliminating the illicit market.”
While the list ensures product from all over Canada will be available in B.C. retail stores, a number of the LPs on the list are tied through a handful of acquisitions, mergers, and strategic partnerships that have taken place over the last year.
To name a few: Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. owns Okanagan producer DOJA Cannabis Ltd. In what was deemed by media as the “largest drug deal in history”, Aurora Cannabis acquired MedReleaf Corp. in an all-share stock transaction valued at $3.2 billion in May. And Ontario-based greenhouse growers, Aphria, acquired Vancouver Island-based Broken Coast Cannabis in February.
Currently just 12 of the assortment are B.C.-based LPs, including Tilray Canada Ltd. and Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp., but the LDB says they intend to “invite additional licensed producers to engage as suppliers” after legalization.
A number of LPs on the list have also signed MOUs with other provinces. The Supreme Cannabis Company and Tilray Canada Ltd, for example, are set to supply wholesale cannabis for the province of Manitoba. Zenabis Ltd. will also be providing 4,000 kilograms of cannabis products to New Brunswick—the retail value of which is more than $40 million.
The 31 licensed producers that have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LDB are:
- Acreage Farms Ltd.
- Agrima Botanicals Corporation
- Aphria Inc. Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc.
- Bloomera Inc.
- Broken Coast Cannabis Ltd.
- Canna Farms Ltd.
- CannTrust Inc.
- Canopy Growth Corporation
- Cronos Group Inc.
- DOJA Cannabis Ltd.
- Evergreen Medicinal Supply Inc.
- Experion Biotechnologies Inc.
- Maricann Inc.
- MedReleaf Corp.
- Natural Med Company
- Redecan Pharm
- Seven Oaks Inc.
- Solace Health
- Starseed Medicinal Inc.
- THC BioMed Inc.
- The Flowr Corporation
- The Supreme Cannabis Company/7 Acres
- Tilray Canada Ltd.
- United Greeneries Ltd.
- UP Cannabis Inc.
- WeGrow BC Ltd.
- WeedMD RX Inc.
- Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp.
- Zenabis Ltd.
The LDB also announced the first B.C. Cannabis Store, the government-run storefronts, will be located within Kamloops’ Columbia Place Shopping Centre. The store will employ around 20 “extensively trained staff” staff, including “knowledgeable cannabis consultants”. The LDB says they plan to apply for municipal approval of the store, a provincially required step, when the City of Kamloops begins accepting applications for recreational cannabis retail outlets in September.
“We welcome this announcement that the LDB is applying to open the first government-operated BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops,” said Mayor Ken Christian in the release.
“Kamloops City Council supports the work of the provincial government as they map out the future retail cannabis landscape in B.C. Their mixed model for cannabis sales, allowing both public and private retail, has many benefits to B.C. communities. The proposal, like all applications, will require the city’s approval before it will operate.”
The LDB says it is considering a number of future locations for B.C. Cannabis Stores and is focused on providing “the best possible customer experience” while meeting health and safety regulations.
Recently, the LDB also announced its 6,500 square-metre distribution warehouse will be located on No. 6 Road in Richmond, B.C., and it will be using Shopify to develop the province’s online sales platform.