N.S. government picks NSLC to sell edibles
HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation will sell cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals when the products become legal later this year.
Finance Minister Karen Casey says the government had great success with NSLC when they were asked to take on the retail for cannabis last year.
"They've proven they could take on the cannabis and so we asked them what it might look like if they were given the expanded mandate for the edibles, extracts and topicals," Casey said Monday in an interview.
"They came back with the same kind of parameters and the same kind of priorities that we wanted, and that was that they would do education and awareness with their staff. They want, and we want, the staff handling the products to be comfortable doing that and to be knowledgeable," she said.
Casey said there have been ongoing discussions with the private sector and First Nations, but for now, the government needed a retailer who was ready and could follow the same retail model set out for cannabis.
She said the new products will be sold in the same 12 NSLC stores that currently sell cannabis.
Casey said the NSLC said it will be able to handle the new products in the existing stores with very little capital costs.
Amended Health Canada regulations governing the sale of edibles, extracts and topicals come into force on Oct. 17.
However a 60-day review process for new products will mean they won't be ready for sale until at least mid-December.
“Preparations will begin immediately to make sure our employees and stores are ready to execute on our new mandate in the same safe and responsible way we retail all our products,” said NSLC president and CEO Greg Hughes.
Said Casey: "As soon as the product is available, we're going to be ready."
Reaction on the streets of Halifax was mixed.
"I see no reason why they shouldn't sell it, I don't know if they should be the sole retailer,” said Maura Pooran.“I already have some concerns about them being mostly the sole retailer for all other kinds of cannabis, just because a lot of the people I know don't have access to the variety that they would normally have with individual sellers.”
Said Scott Burns: “I'm glad that it's on the market, but you know, it's also about quality and price, because that's something I look for when I'm buying.”
Some don’t like the NSLC having a monopoly on the legal market.
“Having the sole rights for the NSLC, to be the only ones to sell edibles, I don't think it's fair for the customer in its whole,” Chris Foley said. “I feel it's more money for the government.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Amanda Debison.