ATHOLVILLE (GNB) – A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Zenabis to supply the provincial government with cannabis for the recreational market. The move is related to preparations for the federal government’s legalization of cannabis for recreational use, expected in July 2018.

“We are committed to ensuring the legalization of cannabis is introduced in a safe and secure way so we can get cannabis out of the hands of our youth and the proceeds from selling cannabis out of the hands of criminals,” said Premier Brian Gallant.

“The legislative framework your government has introduced focuses on ensuring public health and safety is respected by having strong regulations for production, distribution, and sale of cannabis while also making sure awareness programs are in place,” said Gallant. “As we work on those elements, your government will also take full advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the federal government legalizing cannabis. Having licensed, local producers, supply our retail will create jobs in New Brunswick.”

This is the third memorandum signed to secure cannabis for the recreational market. Agreements have also been signed with two other New Brunswick cannabis producers, Organigram and Canopy Growth Corp. The agreements have been signed with the Crown corporation mandated to oversee, conduct and manage the retailing of recreational use cannabis in New Brunswick.

“As we enter this new retail market, we need to ensure there is a safe and secure supply of cannabis for recreational use,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “I am pleased we were able to enter into this agreement with a licensed producer located right here in Restigouche.”

LePage spoke on behalf of Finance Minister Cathy Rogers.

“We are excited to enter into this arrangement with the province,” said Zenabis CEO Kevin Coft. “It will assure that the New Brunswick government has taken the necessary steps to serve market demand once legalization takes place in July 2018. The announcement also allows Zenabis to make the necessary investments in machinery and equipment to provide a broad range of products for New Brunswick consumers. Most importantly, this announcement will help provide stable jobs and employment in this region. The Government of New Brunswick should be commended for its forward thinking with regards to the cannabis industry.”