Manitoba mysteriously delays launch of TobaRolls



Last minute delay by province baffles cannabis activist

The launch of TobaRolls, Canada's first non-profit cannabis product, suffered a strange delay in its journey to Manitoba shelves this past week. We've sent a request for comment to the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) but at the time of this writing we've yet to receive a reply.

"Roughly 40 products were activated for sale on the same day we were supposed to be activated," said Jesse Lavoie, the mind behind TobaRolls. "We submitted everything on time and properly for TobaRolls to be activated in this last cycle. So the fact that Canada’s first not-for-profit cannabis product was deprioritized is concerning.”

Lavoie’s team received emails when the delay first began stating it was due to “staffing issues and focusing on year end.” After those emails, Lavoie's team says they received a phone call from MBLL stating TobaRolls was taken "above the MBLL for review". To our knowledge this has never happened before.

Perhaps the Progressive Conservative government in Manitoba just doesn't want the rolls to see the light of day.

For the past few years Lavoie has been leading a legal challenge against the Manitoba government's ban on homegrowing cannabis. In addition to Quebec, Manitoba is the only other province in Canada that bans growing recreational cannabis at home despite the fact it is federally legal. This past year, Lavoie joined forces with the Quebec challenge.

To pay his legal bills Lavoie uses his own money and hopes to pay that back over time with donations and merchandise sales. Neither of those revenue streams is enough to keep his fight going for the long term and so he conceived of TobaRolls.

Profit from TobaRolls would first go to cover Lavoie's legal bills under the TobaGrown brand and then to a variety of charities including Habitat for Humanity. Since first announcing the rolls in February, Lavoie has updated his supporters to let them know the first $25,000 will actually go to charities before he begins paying off his legal bills.

"We want the government to drop the ban. The sooner they do that, the more money will flow to these charities," Lavoie said. "They're already wasting taxpayer dollars fighting this lawsuit. Why now deny these charities extra cash?"
In a worst case scenario, Lavoie will be forced to repackage the existing inventory sitting on shelves in Manitoba for other markets. The next activation date for Manitoba is April 14th but if the stonewalling of TobaGrown products continues in then consumers will have to travel west to support Lavoie's fight. Saskatchewan's distribution system allows products to flow directly through to retailers, allowing TobaRolls to launch there unimpeded later this month.

If you'd like to support TobaGrown's fight consider donating to his GoFundMe page.

If you'd like to know what's going on with the approval of TobaRolls you could also email and ask them. Maybe they will tell you!

Stay tuned for updates.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published