Decision on potential privatization of Cannabis NB coming once government sworn in: Higgs

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says an update on the future of Cannabis NB will be coming soon.

“An update on the Cannabis NB RFP process will be available after the new government is sworn in,” Higgs said in a statement on Tuesday.

Higgs likely means a decision will come by the time his new cabinet is sworn-in. The results of the election earlier this month, in which Higgs and the PCs earned a majority government, mean Higgs’ government was never technically out of power.

In November 2019, New Brunswick’s then-finance minister Ernie Steeves said the province was prepared to privatize the Crown corporation created to handle the sale of recreational cannabis.

Steeves said a review would be conducted and a request for proposals (RFP) issued. Eight companies submitted proposals in response to the RFP.

The reason given for the proposed sale at the time was Cannabis NB’s lacklustre sales. The Crown corporation lost almost $12.5 million in its first fiscal year, which covered just five months.

However, since then, Cannabis NB has started to turn a profit, reporting a profit of $1.4 million during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Cannabis NB CEO Patrick Parent said the turnaround was the result of aggressive cost-cutting measures, renegotiating prices with suppliers and the addition of weekly promotions.Future of NB Cannabis stores questioned under private model

Higgs said the review of Cannabis NB would be ready for whoever was chosen to form government after the election earlier this month.