NSLC's cannabis stores are going old school with product behind the counters

Nova Scotians nostalgic for the good ole days when buying liquor meant having their favourite brand hand-delivered by a store clerk behind a counter are going to love the new cannabis store model.

Customers will lineup into a queue system and then place their orders with a clerk

At the NSLC locations selling cannabis, customers will line up, place their orders, which clerks will fill from behind a counter, and the order will be placed in a sealed brown paper bag. (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation)

Nova Scotians nostalgic for the good ole days when buying liquor meant having their favourite brand hand-delivered by a store clerk behind a counter are going to love the new cannabis store model the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation will be using.

Customers will line up, consult menus and place their orders, which clerks will fill from behind a counter. The orders will then be placed in a sealed brown paper bag.

In the 11 NSLC locations being renovated to include pot sales, the transactions will take place in an area of the store that will be behind a frosted glass enclosure.

The 12th location will be a standalone outlet on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax. That location will be the only one where a buyer will be able to smell product samples.

This archival photo shows what a former NSLC outlet on Buckingham Street in Halifax looked like. Just like this store, NSLC locations selling cannabis will keep the product behind the counter. (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation)

"All product will be fully sealed, in most cases in medicinal-style bottles," said Tim Pellerin, the company's chief operating officer.

The cannabis stores will also be off limits to anyone under 19.

The federal bill to legalize cannabis isn't finished yet and may not be completed in time for the anticipated July 1 deadline originally envisioned by the federal government.

The province's only standalone cannabis store will open this summer on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax. (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation)

Pellerin described the "cannabis zones" within existing stores as similar to airport washrooms.

"Where there's boys to the right and girls to the left," he said. "That entry point ensures that there's an appropriate entry and exit that we can control."

Clerks hired to staff the new cannabis operations still need to be trained. Twenty suppliers that bid to grow and sell cannabis to the liquor corporation are still being evaluated.

"We need to make sure we have enough of an assortment to satisfy the needs of Nova Scotians, but we also need to make sure the supplier base is diverse enough given the industry itself is quite new," said Dave DiPersio, NSLC's chief services officer.

This poster features information the NSLC would like its customers to know about its stores and cannabis. (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation)