New Brunswick

Crown corporation for pot sales 'reinventing the wheel,' union says

Creating a new Crown corporation to manage the sale of recreational pot in New Brunswick is reinventing the wheel, says the coordinator of the union representing NB Liquor employees.

N.B. government is forming a new entity to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana

The New Brunswick government says it has formed a new entity to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana use. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Creating a new Crown corporation to manage the sale of recreational pot in New Brunswick is reinventing the wheel, says the co-ordinator of the union representing NB Liquor employees.

The New Brunswick government said Friday that it has formed a new entity to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana use.

Denis Brun of CUPE Local 963 said he was disappointed by the decision, as the union felt this could easily be handled by NB Liquor within its existing infrastructure.

He said NB Liquor employees already know how to ensure products are sold to people of legal age and deal with other safety issues such as intoxicated customers.

"They already have the needed training to make sure they're responsibly selling product to our citizens," he said.

Denis Brun is the provincial coordinator for the union that represents NB Liquor employees. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

He added that it seemed wasteful to create a new arm of the government that would likely mean more bureaucracy and cost more money.

"If just a VP were to take care of that component within NB Liquor, that would have been sufficient," he said.

"It's just like we're reinventing the wheel."

Model gives government more oversight 

The government chose to go with the Crown corporation model so that it would have clear oversight of how recreational pot will be sold in the province, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said Friday.

The yet-to-be named Crown corporation won't run retail operations but will work with an "other entity" that will, she said.

Details on what the retail module will look like will be worked out in the coming months, she added.

Medical society praises decision 

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers addresses reporters at a press conference on recreational marijuana use. (CBC)

The New Brunswick Medical Society praised the announcement, saying it is the best approach for regulating recreational cannabis sales.

"We reiterate our recommendation that, unlike NB Liquor, the corporation managing the sale of cannabis should not be profit-driven or subject to a profit target established by the provincial government," Dr. Dharm Singh, president-elect of the society, said in a statement.

"Cannabis is inherently harmful. We hope the provincial government will take a cautious approach to the sale of the substance and accept the responsibility to foster awareness and education around the risks associated with cannabis use."

Two cannabis producers, Organigram and Canopy Growth, have been secured as suppliers, the province announced Friday afternoon.

Through agreements with the province, they will provide at least nine million grams a year for sale to the adult recreational use market.

Corrections

  • The original version of this story said incorrectly that Denis Brun was with CUPE Local 4848. In fact, he is with CUPE Local 963.
    Sep 18, 2017 10:13 AM AT

By Sarah Petz

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