NSLC employees won't be forced to sell cannabis: CEO
People who work for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation won’t have to sell cannabis, if they don’t want to. Instead, they will be allowed to request transfers to stores that don’t sell it.
The NSLC is planning to begin employee training for pot sales, but some say there are still too many unanswered questions about something that’s only a few months away.
NSLC CEO Brett Mitchell says employees will be able to help customers choose from the hundreds of cannabis products on shelves.
“We expect the staff in there to be knowledgeable about the product,” he says, “that they can facilitate safe consumption of the product by consumers when they leave.”
Speaking to a committee of the legislature, Mitchell says it will require special training, although he stopped short of saying staff should sample the product.
“Using outside people to help us build it, so there will be some kind of content source,” he adds. “You know there’s a fair number of people out there now that are offering some degree of expertise.”
There will be about 80 full-time jobs created in year one.
Eventually, everyone who works at a store that sells cannabis will be trained, but employees opposed to selling pot, won’t have to.
“That’s something that we have had conversations early on,” says NSGEU President Jason MacLean, “and the employer said right away that nobody is going to be forced to sell it.”
The union representing workers says some will opt out, and they can be transferred to another store.
However, the NDP is not convinced that 12 stores is enough, even with online sales.
“Try to move purchasers from the black or illegal market to the legal market, there will be challenges because of access,” says Nova Scotia NDP MLA Dave Wilson.
The official opposition says there isn’t enough detail on how much the roll out and public education will cost.
“There was a shrug of shoulders saying we’ll absorb the cost in the ordinary budget,” adds Nova Scotia PC MLA Tim Houston. “So I just don’t think that there’s a good appreciation for what it will cost.”
The federal government plans to legalize recreational cannabis this summer.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.