NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is alarmed by the announcement today of a $40 million deal with Canopy Growth Corporation to operate a production facility in the province to supply up to 8,000 kg of cannabis a year and sell its products.
Lorraine Michael is questioning the haste of the decision as well as the disingenuous lead-up to today’s announcement. During the recent House of Assembly session government repeatedly highlighted the potential benefits for small business and the local economy. Only yesterday, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation said in the House of Assembly that government would issue a request for proposals for the retail model when it comes to the retailing of cannabis.
Today, the public learned that international corporation Canopy Growth will be provided four retail licences to operate large retail stores selling its own product, which will reduce opportunities for local retailers.
“Giving away agricultural production to an international corporation is a missed opportunity for community economic development,” said Michael. “Government promised benefits to Newfoundland and Labrador private businesses, yet are giving this giant external corporation what amounts to a retail monopoly. As we in this province know well, such arrangements will see the bulk of cannabis profits removed from our provincial economy.”
Michael says this deal denies local producers and retailers a fair and reasonable opportunity to participate in this new industry.
“Government has also failed to provide any opportunities and incentives for local agriculture despite their repeated claims to be pro local agriculture,” Michael added.
“This is a major giveaway without allowing NL farmers and business owners the opportunity to kickstart production, supply, and retailing of cannabis in anticipation of legalization.”
Michael says giving the production contract to Canopy Growth, in addition to four retail licences, is not an investment in the economic development of the province.
“How much of this $40 million production facility investment will the province be on the hook for?” Michael said.