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EDITORIAL: The trip back from town

Far out, man, New Glasgow is chosen as one of the select spots around Nova Scotia that will have marijuana available. If youre one of those interested in partaking of the herb once legalized, consider yourself lucky, because these places are few and far between.

If you live in a remote corner of Pictou County and think driving in to town for groceries is a long haul, well, its a lot less daunting a prospect compared to what some tokers will face.

The province announced Tuesday that cannabis products for recreational use will be sold in nine stores across Nova Scotia, all of them NSLC outlets, as had previously been ordained. Four will be in the Halifax area, which kind of makes sense since that region is home to well over a third of the population. Otherwise, in addition to New Glasgows East River Road liquor store, youd be looking at a trip to Amherst, Truro, Yarmouth or Sydney River.

Thats right, a single outlet for all of Cape Breton. If you live along the South Shore, or far end of the Annapolis Valley, figure on an excursion to Yarmouth.

We can only surmise, with this model in place, that the long-term goal would be to eventually make it available at some other stores, to cut down the distance for interested buyers.

There will, in addition, be online sales offered by the liquor corporation, with home delivery available. And people will also be able to grow their own – up to four plants per household.

Granted, far from a majority of Nova Scotians intend to consume marijuana, certainly not on a regular basis. A recent survey pegged it at below 20 per cent, and some of those would be occasional users.

But this kind of setup begs the question of why were going through this in the first place. The federal governments point of legalizing this drug, long used illicitly for recreational purposes, was to take sales out of the hands of the criminal element.

The thing with that is, making legal sales inconvenient helps keep opportunities open for the underworld.

Many might question why a government would want to put two potent drugs under the same roof – even if sold in separate areas.

There is, however, some rationale in the approach in that liquor stores already tend to have good security systems in place. We trust personnel will need to go through extensive training for the new products, not only to restrict sales to those old enough, but to have reasonable knowledge about different strains and varieties.

But the distances between some of these outlets presents a dilemma. Nova Scotias conservative approach to liquor sales post-Prohibition certainly fostered a flourishing bootlegger trade in every nook and cranny across the province. Expect the same with cannabis sales.

And, apart from that, where did you say those seeds are available?

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