FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is hoping legalized cannabis will help ignite the province’s economy — but a possible change in government after a deadlocked election has created uncertainties about how the retail regime might eventually look.
The Liberals under Premier Brian Gallant have seen cannabis as green gold — a chance to create production and retail jobs and rake in profits through its new Crown agency, Cannabis NB.
They have given financial assistance to a number of cannabis producers to locate in New Brunswick in an effort to create an economic hub for the industry.
But the Liberals failed to win a majority in last month’s election and are at risk of being toppled by the Progressive Conservatives when the legislature begins sitting next week.
Tory member Ross Wetmore says his party was in favour of privately run cannabis dispensaries instead of a Crown corporation, but will review the contracts if they form government.
The government originally forecast revenues in the first year of $73 million, but with the start delayed from July to October, the forecast is now $45 million.
Cannabis NB President Brian Harriman says with overhead and start-up costs, he hopes the 20 stores will at least break even in their first fiscal year.
The Canadian Press