The province said it will hold a random draw to pick cannabis retailers for seven Manitoba communities currently without service.

Nearly 100 applicants pre-qualified for approval as pot retailers in Manitoba after the province put out a request in July of 2018, and it’s from that pool that retailers will be picked for Altona, Flin Flon, Lac du Bonnet, Niverville, the R.M. of Russell-Binscarth, Swan River and Virden.

The province said this second phase of retail rollout will help Manitoba meet a goal of having recreational cannabis available within a 30 minute drive for 90 per cent of the province’s residents by October 2020.

In a news release, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen said the government is working with municipalities to help determine appropriate locations for proposed cannabis stores and can help them review proximity to places like schools, houses of workshop and community centres.

“This is the next step to open access." Pedersen said to CTV News.

A list of stores currently licensed to sell cannabis in Manitoba is posted on the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba website.

A Cannabis supply shortage across the country played a role in rolling out with seven new locations.

“Stores right now are only getting 30 percent of what they're actually ordering. so to open stores all across the province, to have full retail right now, doesn’t make sense.” Pedersen said.

Niverville mayor says province selected town to keep its promise

Niverville Mayor, Myron Dyck addressed residents of the town in a news release Friday, saying it was “selected based on a decision made at the provincial level to obtain their original accessibility promise,” and that council did not lobby to have Niverville chosen for cannabis retail.

In the fall, six of eight Manitoba municipalities that held plebiscites voted against allowing pot sales, including Steinbach, which is about a 25 minute drive from Niverville.

Niverville did not hold a plebiscite.

In his statement, Dyck said council now has “work to do regarding this announcement,” and it will be on the agenda for the next council meeting.

“Our community, like many others in the province, contains various opinions and views related to cannabis legalization that took place last fall in Canada,” he wrote, asking residents to weigh in by email or letter to the town office. “We are one community, made up of diverse people, with diverse cultural and faith backgrounds. Diversity is good, division is not. Together we will work through this decision respectfully and graciously. This is a time where much wisdom is needed for all involved,” the statement read.

-With files from CTV's Jason Gaidola