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Province steps into pot biz

New Brunswickers are getting a glimpse of how legalized marijuana may be sold in the province.

Although the provincial government hasn't yet announced a retail model, NB Liquor has put out a tender call for "cannabis retail" spaces across the province.

The tender seeks 3,000-square-foot spaces in 15 communities that include parking and delivery truck space. Some cities will get multiple stores — including three in Moncton and Saint John, and two in Fredericton.

The tender also includes images of what the stores may look like — upscale-looking outlets similar in appearance to newly built liquor stores, with floor plans specifying locations of vaults and displays.

It includes maps showing the limited areas in each community where stores may be located. They must be 300 metres from schools, playground and daycares, with preference given to locations near major grocery and retail outlets.

The retail spaces are to be "substantially completed" by the end of May. The deadline for the bids closes November 10.

Ottawa has introduced legislation to legalize recreational weed by July 1, but left distribution and regulation to the provinces.

Last month, the province created a new Crown corporation to oversee recreational marijuana sales, and signed deals with two suppliers. Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said the Crown corporation will not directly conduct retail operations.

A New Brunswick legislature committee has recommended selling marijuana through government-operated stores to anyone 19 years or older.

A Deloitte report last fall suggested recreational marijuana could be worth about $22.6 billion to the Canadian economy.



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