Starting next year anyone 19 or over will be able to use, purchase and possess cannabis products in Nova Scotia, which will be legally sold online and through existing NSLC stores.
The much-anticipated details were released Thursday by the province. According to the government, the number of liquor stores that will stock pot is yet to be determined.
In a press release, Justice minister Mark Furey said the top priority for Nova Scotia remains the health and safety of children. According to the minister, NSLC has “the experience and expertise” to sell restricted products in a socially responsible way.
“We believe the NSLC is best positioned to sell cannabis, keeping it out of the hands of young people and making it legally available in a safe, regulated way,” writes Furey.
An online survey from the province—which was completed 31,000 times over the past several weeks—strongly implied Nova Scotia was looking at selling pot through its existing NSLC stores. But the idea has been met with a mixed response.
Over half of respondents supported the recreational drug being available in new standalone stores, rather than next to alcohol products. Only 49 percent either somewhat or completely agreed with the provincial Crown corporation taking over sales of cannabis.
The idea of handing NSLC a cannabis monopoly has also been criticized by former NDP minister Graham Steele, who tells Andrea Gunn at the Chronicle Herald it would be a mistake.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to take an organization that does what it does, and does in my opinion really well, and just say, ‘Here, and here’s a brand new thing with which you have no previous experience, now you go ahead and do it.’”
No word yet where this leaves the private dispensaries who've been operating with the hopes their businesses would become legitimate (and avoid further police raids).
Federal legislation to legalize recreational cannabis will take effect July 2018.