MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government has secured suppliers of cannabis for the recreational-use market in anticipation of the federal government legalizing such use by July 2018. A Crown corporation has been established to oversee the sale of non-medicinal cannabis.

“Your government is committed to ensuring a seamless approach to the legalization of recreational cannabis, an approach that will prioritize public health and safety concerns,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “To that end, we have created a new Crown corporation that will help us to achieve that goal and have signed memorandums of understanding with two licensed New Brunswick producers of cannabis in order to secure a supply for our New Brunswick market.”

Two licensed cannabis producers, Organigram and Canopy Growth Corp., will be partnering with the provincial government.

“We are pleased to partner with two local companies to secure a supply for our New Brunswick market in time for the July 2018 launch,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “In addition, the creation of this new provincial Crown corporation provides the flexibility and lays the groundwork for the eventual retail model once final decisions around that have been made.”

This model aims to ensure that the government maintains full control of the sale of non-medicinal cannabis. The Crown corporation will oversee the business on behalf of the government, with health and safety as its top priorities. It is expected to take other steps in the near future to ensure the retail model is operational in order to meet the federal government’s timelines.

The Crown corporation will not directly conduct retail operations but will eventually engage with another entity or entities to provide that framework, said Rogers. Those plans will be finalized once the government has had an opportunity to consider the final report of its select committee on cannabis and the final recommendations of the provincial working group.

The government has committed to working with the public, law enforcement and other partners and stakeholders to implement various public safety and health protections by July 2018.