FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has discontinued the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the privatization of recreational cannabis in New Brunswick.

“I thank the staff of Cannabis NB and all of the proponents for their patience as we have navigated this process through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “Discussions with the top-ranked proponent have concluded and our government has decided that the best approach for New Brunswickers is to continue with the Cannabis NB model that is now in place.”

The RFP for a single private operator received eight responses by the Jan. 10, 2020 submission deadline. Proposals from private operators were evaluated and ranked through an open, fair and accountable method overseen by a third-party fairness monitor.

To protect the commercial confidentiality of the process and of the private sector participants, no further details of the short-listed proponents or their proposals will be disclosed.

“While we were pleased with the level of interest and engagement from the private sector, Cannabis NB’s performance over the past few months, as well as careful consideration of the social and economic implications of the retail model, has given us confidence that New Brunswick taxpayers and consumers can be well served through continued improvements within the current model,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves.

Steeves said the government continues to focus on economic growth and recovery, and on actions designed to strengthen New Brunswick’s economy in the long-term.