The Cannabis NB model works for entrepreneurs

Andrew Byrne March 29, 2021

Part one of a two part series on NB’s cannabis value chain. In Part 2 we will explore the research and innovation opportunities.



It’s great news that the Cannabis NB retail model for the sale of recreational cannabis will be continued. We applaud the Government of New Brunswick and the leadership of NB Liquor for reaching the decision on March 19, 2021 to discontinue the search for a single private operator.


For 25 years, BioNB has been promoting the use of New Brunswick’s natural resources as economic drivers and we can see how the opportunities in the legal cannabis industry leverage this province’s strengths. We would like to share some key points on why we think the Cannabis NB retail model benefits the economy.


Of the 15 recreational cannabis production licenses issued in New Brunswick, 11 license holders are considered micro scale. The sale of Cannabis NB would have created a private retail monopoly where the micro cannabis producers would lose their market share and growth potential to larger multinational interests. In the proposed private model, there was little incentive for a province-wide retailer to partner with multiple craft cannabis producers. This would have created a challenging situation for these businesses.


Craft cannabis can be thought of in the same way as microbrew beer, specialty coffee, premium wines and organic food. Consumers gravitate to these types of products because of the sustainable practices, local employment and premium quality associated with them.


As cannabis becomes more mainstream, consumers will also seek differentials related to premium cannabis products with unique qualities and regional provenance. With the swift expansion of the cannabis industry underway, craft cannabis is poised to be an industry disruptor as it moves into the limelight.


Without local production, it is unlikely that innovative opportunities for cannabis in animal feed, natural health products and advanced materials would ever fully develop.  Such new and improved products can expand markets and grow the economy, but first our craft cannabis industry must develop the retail market.


Funding opportunities from the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund ( were suspended while the Cannabis NB RFP was active. We offer that craft producers partnering with local academic institutions would be an incredible vehicle for bringing this fund back into use.

















Resource-based industries have been and remain the foundation of the economy in Atlantic Canada, and it is imperative that we continue to focus on our core competencies to realize the great opportunity of this new sector. We have all the ingredients, talent, and capacity to flourish in the new economy. However, to continue to prosper and attract capital, we must create an innovative ecosystem that leverages and improves our economic and environmental competitiveness utilizing our assets to their fullest potential.

If you want to learn more about the cannabis opportunity in New Brunswick or BioNB, contact our Marketing & Communications Director, Andrew Byrne, at


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