The New Brunswick provincial government announced today that retail cannabis sales in the Atlantic province will be handled by the NB Liquor control board.
In a framework that mirrors the government of Ontario’s plan, New Brunswick is the second province to officially reveal a retail scheme for the distribution of legalized adult-use cannabis, starting next July.
“Your government is prioritizing public health and safety concerns as we move towards legalization of recreational cannabis,” said Health Minister Benoit Bourque. “We have listened to New Brunswickers and we want to ensure that cannabis stays out of the hands of criminals and youth. By having NB Liquor operate the retail spaces, this will help us achieve these goals.”
Similar to the Ontario plan, New Brunswick’s retail marijuana structure will operate through a subsidiary of NB Liquor. That division will manage all retail sales of adult-use marijuana for the province.
Finance Minister Cathy Rogers stated at the press conference today that the government of New Brunswick believes this model will be the best way to achieve the aforementioned goals. “Advice we have heard from other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis, like Colorado and Washington, is to start with tight government oversight, which is what we are doing.”
NB Liquor plans to have 20 retail locations in 15 different communities for the people of New Brunswick. As well, online sales will be available to ensure that legal pot is available to everyone, including those who may not live near a proposed outlet.
“NB Liquor is proud to have been chosen to be the retailer of recreational cannabis and this is a responsibility we take very seriously,” said Brian Harriman, president and CEO of the government organization. “Now that we have a clear mandate as the retailer, we will work diligently to ensure we focus on operation of the retail network in a manner that promotes social responsibility and responsible consumption.”
The planned 20 retail locations will be located at least 300 meters away from schools and will only display products under glass. There has been no decision on price points for legal cannabis products in New Brunswick, the names of the outlets or what the legal age of consumption will be for the province — the minimum age to purchase alcohol in New Brunswick is 19 years.
The retail announcement comes on the heels of a previous statement in September when it was revealed that two major licensed producers (LPs) would be providing the total supply of marijuana in New Brunswick for the first two years of legalization. Those LPs are Canopy Growth and Moncton-based Organigram.
Thus far, Ontario and New Brunswick are the only two provinces to officially declare their retail intentions for legal adult-use cannabis. Alberta has revealed their legal minimum age for purchase will be 18 years, and it will be legal to carry 30 grams of pot in public, with no limit in private residences.
Photo courtesy of Chris Campbell