It has been an eventful week for provincial pot announcements in Canada, with the first one coming from British Columbia Tuesday. Not to be outdone, on Thursday the Province of Nova Scotia announced their framework for the distribution and sale of legal cannabis starting in July 2018.
Like all other provinces, Nova Scotia has decided to set the minimum age to purchase marijuana alongside their drinking age, which is 19 years old. British Columbia also set their minimum at 19, but the similarities between the two frameworks end there.
Much like its closer neighbors of New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, Nova Scotia has made the controversial decision to have a government monopoly on all cannabis sales. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. (NSLC) will be in charge of selling legal cannabis through retail stores and online.
Causing further discord, Nova Scotia has no plans to create standalone stores to sell weed and will provide cannabis products alongside liquor. The decision has garnered significant criticism from members of Nova Scotia’s provincial government, who have called the idea “shameful.”
“The danger is impulse,” said Member of the Legislative Assembly Karla MacFarlane. “I’ve heard it from many youth, when you walk into a liquor store and you have the opportunity as well to purchase marijuana. The science is out there, the data is out there the two shouldn’t be mixed.”
The provincial government did not elaborate as to how many NSLC stores would sell cannabis and added that the decision would be made at an undetermined date.
“The NSLC has the experience and expertise to distribute and sell restricted products like alcohol and now cannabis in a socially responsible way,” said Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Mark Furey in a press announcement Thursday morning. “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.”
Like many other provinces, Nova Scotia asked for opinions through an online survey, which received 31,000 responses. One of the interesting takeaways from the results of the public consultation was that 56 percent of Nova Scotians wanted government-operated, stand-alone cannabis stores as opposed to seeing marijuana sold alongside alcohol.
Nova Scotians will be permitted to cultivate up to 4 plants per household as per the federal government’s guidelines and every adult can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis.