AMHERST – Amherst’s police chief is not surprised the province is electing to use the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation for the distribution and sale of cannabis products.
“It’s really no surprise to us,” Ian Naylor said Thursday. “It has experience screening people to make sure the product doesn’t get into the wrong hands.”
The province announced earlier Thursday that the distribution and sale of cannabis would be done online and in existing NSLC stores when the federal government legalizes it for recreational use next July.
It is also setting the legal age of use, purchase and possession at 19. This follows the lead of other provinces such as neighbouring New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Justice Minister Mark Furey said federal legislation outlining several restrictions is being accepted by the province including a personal possession limit of 30 grams, a personal cultivation limit of up to four plants per household and the establishment of provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.
Naylor said the department still has several questions about enforcement that need to be answered and he will wait until the entire package is out before passing judgment.
“There are a lot of questions for police agencies on how they are going to enforce this,” Naylor said. “This is December and the province has indicated there are more decisions forthcoming. Fact is it’s too early to take a formal position on this. We’ll have see how things go as we move forward to legalization and once we see the whole picture we’ll be in a better position to give an informed opinion.”
Details of online sales and location of retail stores will be announced later.
The province plans to make additional announcements about the legalization of cannabis as decisions are finalized. Government will continue to review the feedback it received through consultation as it develops the plans and strategy going forward.
Naylor said it’s a change his officers will adjust to.
“Changes happen all the time in policing. It’s one of the more significant changes I’ve seen in my 40 years, but it’s just another change and what we have to do as a police agency is adapt to change,” Naylor said.
In October, the province conducted public consultations on the legalization of cannabis.
Of those who participated in the survey, 78 per cent support the decision to legalize recreational cannabis. Most of that support was in the 18-34 age range and among males.
The survey found that 75 per cent of those who completed the survey indicated their support for the legal age of 19, while support was lower among those over age 55 and among health professionals.
The What We Heard document, which summarizes the findings of 31,000 completed online surveys and stakeholder meetings and submissions, can be found at www.novascotia.ca/cannabis.