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The 411 on 420 in Halifax. 

Ready to blaze up for legalization next month? Here's what you need to know about cannabis and the city.

click to enlarge VIA ISTOCK
  • VIA iStock

Where to buy?
Once legal, recreational cannabis will only be sold through specialized Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores. There are a total of 12 stores dotted around the province, though customers can also order online for home delivery. The new NSLC on Clyde Street will be the only cannabis-specific store, where customers actually get to smell the product before buying. The NSLCs will be branding their strains on a snobby spectrum that includes terms like “relax,” “unwind,” “centre” and “enhance.” Labels on the actual products will more helpfully display THC and CBD percentages as well as flavour notes.

How much of that weed is locally grown?
None! The liquor corporation recently put in its first order for 3.75 million grams of cannabis to meet the demands come legalization. You’re right, that’s a Citadel Hill-amount of grass. And not a single gram of that 3.75 million comes from Nova Scotia. Designated NSLC stores will have 78 strains on the shelves, supplied by 14 Canadian vendors. Two of those producers are in Atlantic Canada, but neither is growing in Nova Scotia. The province currently only has three licensed growers, but none of those corporations—at the moment—has its sales license. So you’ll have to wait a little longer to buy local when blazing up.

What’s the difference between Sativa and Indica?
Oh, about the same as the difference between coffee and beer. Stimulating strains of Sativa can be the perfect aide if you’re looking to melt away anxieties before class, or need inspiration to tackle that to-do list and finish off your next great term paper. Post-exams, maybe unwind by smoking a bowl of a tranquillizing Indica strain to bliss out with a full body high. It’s also a great companion to relax before bedtime.

Where can I smoke?
By now you may have heard people complaining all about city hall’s bonkers new smoking bylaw. The amended rules mean anyone smoking anything—tobacco, cannabis or even vapour—on municipal property outside of ridiculous designated smoking areas is subject to fines ranging from $25 to $2,000. Pause here to remember it’s illegal to smoke inside businesses in Nova Scotia and landlords can, and likely will ban all cannabis smoking in rental units. Basically, cannabis will be legal in Canada but not in Halifax.

The new bylaws also restrict any outdoor plant-growing (so move those puppies in off the balcony). The idea was to avoid the public nuisance of clouds of cannabis smoke by creating a complaint-driven process to fine smokers. And boy howdy have they caused a lot of complaints—everyone hates these new bylaws. The backlash was so great and so immediate that Dartmouth councillor Sam Austin very quickly asked for a new staff report on exempting tobacco use from the prohibition so at least the crowds of smokers who want a cigarette will ease off. That would still leave cannabis users vulnerable, but right now we’re all in wait-and-see mode.

Can’t I just get a prescription for medicinal cannabis?
Easily! If you have a family doctor. And no one in Nova Scotia does. Family doctors went extinct 50 years ago and are now only known through myth. Walk-in clinics are, perhaps unsurprisingly, not all that interested in writing up cannabis scripts for random patients. The easiest way will probably mean requesting a copy of your health records and bringing those to a legal medical cannabis clinic. Just be careful you’re not being charged by some off-the-books grey-market “doctor” for an unofficial license.

I notice you keep saying “cannabis” instead of “marijuana.”
Yeah. There was a whole thing last fall. But to explain that properly we’d need to cover a lot of backstory about this guy named Matt Whitman and, honestly, it’s exhausting just thinking about it. Google is your friend.
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