Raids on unlicensed dispensaries are heating up across the country.

But according to New Brunswick’s Crown cannabis corporation Cannabis NB, illicit dispensaries remain the legal industry’s’ greatest competitor.

Cannabis NB lost $11.7M in its first six months, then followed that by reporting a $2.2M loss for the first quarter of 2019. The University of New Brunswick Saint John is now offering a third year cannabis research course exploring Cannabis NB’s continued difficulties.

After Cannabis NB’s first posted loss, Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs flirted with privatizing adult-use retail in the province, scaling down Cannabis NB, or bringing in third-party experts to run the Crown company.

This time, Finance Minister Ernie Steeves reported no decision will be made before 2020, but a spokesperson for Cannabis NB blamed illicit dispensaries for the corporation’s flagging profits.

The spokesperson told CTV Atlantic, “The emergence of many illegal dispensaries—up to 40—throughout the province continues to be the biggest risk and threat to a safe, legal cannabis retail industry; and the continuing stabilization of the portfolio and having access to full product offering is improving but still not at our originally anticipated levels.”

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