11/14/2019 13:08 EST | Updated 11/14/2019 17:07 EST

New Brunswick Cannabis Retail May Be Privatized After Province-Run Stores Lose Millions

Cannabis NB bled $12 million in red ink in its first six months.

FREDERICTON ― New Brunswick has issued a request for proposals for a single private operator to take over the government’s operation, distribution and sales of recreational cannabis in the province.

Finance Minister Ernie Steeves says today that after a careful analysis, the government concluded the best approach was to turn to the private sector.

The exterior of a Cannabis NB location in Fredericton, N.B., Oct. 16, 2018.

Interested proponents will have until Jan. 10, 2020 to submit proposals.

Cannabis NB, a provincial Crown corporation, lost almost $12 million in its first six months and continues to bleed red ink, although sales are on the rise.

It was announced last month that second quarter losses for the current year were $1.5 million.

Steeves says he expects strong interest in the request for proposals.

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