New Brunswick

What you need to know about legal weed in the Maritimes

From one-stop shopping in Nova Scotia to New Brunswick's abundance of stores, legal cannabis won't be the same across the Maritime provinces. Here are some of the major differences.

Don't expect the same shopping experience in Rothesay vs. Halifax

The countdown is on to cannabis legalisation, and the Maritime provinces are all taking different approaches to the new industry. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

In two weeks, cannabis will become legal across Canada.

Cue crunch time for provinces and territories scrambling to make sense of crazy quilt of retail models — from Ontario's decision to scrap a government monopoly on cannabis stores to the strict government-store-only policy in Quebec, and the hybrid public/private model in Manitoba.

If you spend any time travelling between New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, you can expect to see big differences in the number of cannabis stores, what they sell, how products are marketed and how they're delivered.

Which means people could, theoretically, shop in Fredericton for cannabis products they can't get back in Charlottetown — and bring as many as 30 grams back across provincial borders.

Here are some key differences you need to know between legal cannabis stores in the Maritimes.

NSLC Cannabis

What makes it different: The only place in Canada where one-stop shopping for alcohol and cannabis will be the norm. Just one store on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax will sell just weed by itself: some 300 different products — twice as many as any other store, with the opportunity to smell samples before you buy.

How many stores: A dozen: two in Halifax, plus Amherst Mall, Antigonish, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, New Minas, Sydney River, Truro, Yarmouth and New Glasgow.

Nova Scotia's only standalone cannabis store is located on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax. (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation)

How many jobs: About 200.

Opening: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Ambience: Like a liquor store — only in separate section in the back partitioned off behind frosted glass. Tim Pellerin, the company's chief operating officer, has described the "cannabis zones" within liquor stores as similar to airport washrooms — one door that leads to two separate sections. Alcohol and cannabis won't be advertised together.

Online ordering: Yes.

Home delivery: Yes, via Canada Post.

What you can buy: 78 strains of cannabis labelled under four headings: Relax, Unwind, Centre, and Enhance. A total of 282 cannabis products will come in five formats — dried bud, seeds, pre-rolled joints, oil and gel caps. You'll also be able to buy smoking accessories.

The NSLC store on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax is seen under renovation on May 1, 2018. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

P.E.I. Cannabis

What makes it different: It's the only provincial cannabis authority in the Maritimes with a holding page — a kind of "soft launch" for a website intended to give a sense of the company's vibe. peicannabiscorp.com features a picture of a serene field —and clock counting down to legalization.

How many stores: Four — Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and O'Leary.

The holding page that greets visitors to P.E.I. Cannabis website — including a countdown of the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the plant becomes legal. (PEI Cannabis Corp)

Opening: 9 a.m. on Oct. 17 — except the O'Leary store, which isn't expected to open until November.

How many jobs: About 50.

Store look: Very similar to the NSLC Cannabis stores in Nova Scotia, according to P.E.I. Finance Minister Heath MacDonald. The renderings show a lot of blonde wood, locked cabinets and a small lobby where a receptionist IDs people.

P.E.I. has signed agreements to sell products from eight more cannabis suppliers and an accessory company at its provincial stores. (John Robertson/CBC)

What you can buy: Dried flower, cannabis oil, gel capsules and pre-rolled joints, which you'll be able to smell and look at through a magnifying device before buying them. Smoking and vaping accessories will come from Humble and Fume, a wholesaler that works with 200 brands and carries some 10,000 products.

Online ordering: Yes.

Home delivery: Yes, via Purolator.

A rendering of the Charlottetown cannabis retail location. (PEI Cannabis Management Corporation)

Cannabis NB

What makes it different: More stores than any other province in the Maritimes.

How many stores: 20. Two locations in Fredericton, two in Saint John, three in Moncton, and one store apiece in Rothesay, Edmundston, Sackville, Shediac, Richibucto, Tracadie, Perth Andover, Campbellton, Oromocto, Bathurst, Miramichi, Sussex, and St. Stephen.

The Cannabis NB location at 87 Landsdowne Ave. in Saint John is the first government cannabis store to be unveiled in Canada. (Julia Wright / CBC)

Opening: 10 a.m. to  9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

How many jobs: 180 full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Store look: Hip, monochromatic colour palette with tasteful pops of green. Photo murals of local landmarks. Faux succulents and wheatgrass. Dozens of shiny screens.

Posters advertise three different cannabis categories, or 'occasions.' The three product groups — Discover, Connect, and Refresh — all have different effects, which are outlined in detail in a promotional brochure. (Julia Wright / CBC)

What you can buy: 250 cannabis products arranged in three product groups — Discover, Connect and Refresh —  aimed respectively toward those wanting to "unlock creativity," for "the weekly poker game, girls' night out, or a concert with the whole group," or "relaxing at home with your spouse." Dried bud, oil, capsules, and seeds will be available. You'll be able to smell the products in a "nosing jar" before buying them — but don't expect in-store samples.

Online ordering. Goes live at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 17 — before the brick and mortar stores open. Buyers will verify their age online, then have ID checked again when the purchase is delivered within 48 hours (no word on whether there's an additional fee for that.)

Home delivery: Yes, but the delivery company hasn't been announced.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of the story said incorrectly that in P.E.I., seeds and seedlings will be available in stores and online Oct. 17. In fact, it hasn't been decided when they will be available.
    Oct 03, 2018 4:36 PM AT

About the Author

Julia Wright is host of Information Morning Saint John. She has been with the CBC since 2016.