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Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island both set legal age for marijuana use at 19

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island both set legal age for marijuana use at 19
From Global News - December 7, 2017

Nova Scotia and P.E.I. both set their legal age for marijuana at 19 on Thursday, but the two East Coast provinces are taking different paths on how weed will be sold.

P.E.I. said it will sell marijuana at standalone outlets run separately by its liquor commission, while Nova Scotia said pot will be sold alongside alcohol in its provincial liquor stores.

READ: N.S. sets legal age for marijuana use at 19, names NSLC as retailer

Justice Minister Mark Furey said Thursday Nova Scotia believes selling marijuana through existing liquor stores will provide the necessary control to ensure public safety.

They have a social responsibility mandate and we trust their experience in selling restricted products, said Furey.

The Nova Scotia Liquor Commission also has the infrastructure in place to support a province-wide retail operation.

P.E.I. noted its decision on separate stores was in line with a recommendation last year by the federal task force on cannabis legalization and regulation. It said there should be no co-location of alcohol and cannabis sales where possible, saying that appropriate safeguards should be put in place if co-sales couldnt be avoided.

Dedicated stores will avoid encouraging the use of both alcohol and cannabis together, the Island government said in a release Thursday.

The approach to retail varies nationally, with Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador offering pot sales through private stores, while British Columbia will sell through a mix of private and public stores. Ontario intends to sell the drug in up to 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, while Quebec plans to sell pot through its provincially run liquor board and also plans to open 15 marijuana stores by July 1.

New Brunswick announced last month that people would be able to buy marijuana at a subsidiary of the provinces liquor commission.

Furey said he believes Nova Scotias plan aligns with what the task force said should happen when locations sell marijuana and liquor. He said the commission can train its staff and post clear signage warning of the dangers of co-usage.

That model of retail actually provides a level of control that the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission provides now through its employees in the retail of alcohol.

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative MLA Karla MacFarlane called the governments distribution approach and age limit shameful.

MacFarlane said the province ignored the task forces concerns on sales, and health experts who wanted a higher age limit.

When the minister says that our number one priority was health and concern for our youth we clearly have failed them, she said.

MacFarlane said the government clearly wants to use existing liquor stores to save money.

But NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the government made the right move by keeping retail sales in the hands of the public sector.

READ:Nova Scotias first licensed cannabis producer planning to add 30 to 40 more employees

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