Weed users got a skimpy gram from Stephen McNeil’s government when the province’s legal cannabis retail locations were revealed this week.
There will be exactly nine NSLC locations carrying chronic for all of Nova Scotia, justice minister Mark Furey announced, from Yarmouth to Sydney River. You can see them all
For comparison, there are 110 NSLC shops selling liquor, 60 “agency stores” in rural areas where the NSLC partners with other retailers, plus four private liquor outlets like Rockhead and Bishop’s Cellar. That is, there are 174 legal liquor
If that level of cannabis commitment sounds like the government is Bogarting the joint on the whole post-prohibition rollout, recall that premier McNeil isn’t well known for his ability to share. And it’s hard to square the undersupply of legal options with the official goal of making the illegal market evaporate. The government seems to be guaranteeing a customer base for grey market and black market sellers by creating legal dispensary deserts.
But there is
Relatedly, there are real concerns about the legal supply of cannabis keeping up with demand. Among licensed producers—the 89 companies that are allowed to grow weed for medical and, come July, recreational users in Canada—there are estimates that the rec market in Ontario alone could suck up every legal gram the country can currently produce. Maybe Nova Scotia is anticipating shortages, so to manage expectations it's creating a shortage of retailers.
Or maybe Nova Scotians won’t want much weed after all, despite Stats Can
If a product used by 70 percent of the population requires 174 stores, that’s like saying one store serves .4 percent of the population.
Or maybe online shopping
The other gem from Furey is that one of the nine retail pot outlets will be a stand-alone location: The former liquor store on Clyde Street in Halifax is reopening as the province’s flagship bud boutique. This is a surprising and welcome deviation from the government’s controversial decision to sell weed and booze out of the same NSLC shops.
Whether the Clyde Street