YARMOUTH - Close to 80 lined up outside the Yarmouth NSLC at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17, waiting for the Cannabis Shop to open for the first time.
The historic event took place at similar venues across Canada, as the nation became the second nation in the world (Uruguay made the big leap in 2014) and the first G7 country to legalize sales of the drug.
Yarmouth NSLC manager Mike Wilson says he was very pleased with the turnout.
“One of the larger outlets in Halifax had 200 standing in the lineup. For a small town like Yarmouth, this is great. Good support,” he said.
Customers must be 19 or older to shop in the cannabis section of the NSLC and photo ID is required. Loose flower and pre-rolls as well as oils and gel caps will be sold in the shop.
Jason McCaw was the first person in Yarmouth to legally buy recreational marijuana.
“I got two grams of the strongest stuff they have,” he says.
He thought the price was reasonable.
“I smoke daily, so I’ll definitely be here for more than special occasions,” he said.
In terms of pricing, cannabis will follow the same pricing strategy, structure and principles that the NSLC uses to manage all beverage alcohol categories. There will be three categories of cannabis pricing – value, core and premium.
At present, one gram of flower is priced $6.33 - $8.49 for value cannabis, $9 - $10.98 for core cannabis and $10.99 and up for premium cannabis.
The NSLC currently has 97 products representing 52 strains in inventory. Based on estimated sales projections, it expects to have a three-week supply of inventory on hand opening week. The supply challenges are being experienced nationwide.
Dave DiPersio, NSLC’s senior vice-president and chief services officer, says suppliers are working hard to get the product labelled and shipped. “We will process inventory receipts as quickly as possible, so product is available for our customers,” he said.
Cannabis is also available online and at 11 other NSLC stores across the province.
Product is delivered in a Canada Post envelope for a flat rate of $7, but customers must visit an NSLC store first to obtain a code. Upon delivery, ID must be presented to show you are 19 or over. No more than 30 grams can be purchased at any one time.
As a “fifth generation teetotaller,” its unlikely NDP Leader Gary Burrill will be buying any cannabis now that’s it legal.
When asked – while visiting the region in Shelburne on Oct. 17 – about what he thought about the Nova Scotia government’s roll-out, Burrill said his concern is “whether or not the government’s plan to distribute is going to be effective in its main goal to shut down the illicit market."
"In order to do that cannabis has to be available widely throughout the province,” he said. “There’s with only 12 stores. Other provinces have made it more widely available. I think in Nova Scotia if they only had 12 liquor stores who would be making the dollars? The bootlegger. The idea is to not have the cannabis bootlegger making the dollars which is going to be hard to do with only 12 stores but we’ll have to wait and see.”
More about Cannabis
Each province and territory will have the ability to set its own rules for cannabis
Individual municipalities may also pass bylaws to regulate the use of cannabis locally. Check your municipality for local information.
It is illegal now and will remain illegal to take any amount of cannabis across Canada's international borders.