A Loblaws store is seen in Montreal on March 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Loblaw eyes recreational marijuana market in Newfoundland and Labrador

TORONTO — Loblaw Companies Ltd. is looking to sell recreational marijuana in Newfoundland and Labrador, as the provincial body handling pot sales has included the company on its list of potential licensed cannabis retailers.

Cannabis NL, a division of the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corp., on Monday released its list of qualified retailer applicants which have been selected for the next phase of the application process.

Loblaw’s applications for 10 potential locations were among the 24 selected by Cannabis NL. Other applicants on the list included licensed medical marijuana producer Canopy Growth, regional health store chain the Healthy Vibe, and Tobin’s Convenience.

Lobaw’s presence in Newfoundland and Labrador includes grocery stores under the Dominion banner and Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

Company spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said the retailer does not plan to sell recreational cannabis on its grocery store shelves in the province.

“It would be available behind the counter, in small, existing tobacco shops, adjacent but separate to our Dominion grocery stores,” Thomas wrote in an emailed statement.

Cannabis NL said the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corp. will be in touch with applicants in the coming days to determine the next steps in the process.

Loblaw first applied for a license to dispense medical marijuana in 2016. Shoppers Drug Mart has lined up supply deals with several licensed medical marijuana producers including Aurora Cannabis and Aphria, which are subject to Health Canada’s approval of its application.

Loblaw has said medical marijuana is their focus, but their CEO has also said that the retailer is open to being involved with recreational marijuana.

Thomas said Monday that while Loblaw has been named among the qualified applicants to sell recreational pot, “there are more steps to come and it’s premature to discuss details or outcomes.”

“This has nothing to do with Shoppers Drug Mart or our application to distribute medical cannabis, which remains our focus,” she said.

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