Sneak peek into Nova Scotia cannabis stores

Nova Scotia is almost ready for October 17, and has given a sneak peek into their stores.

The buying process is simple - customers will line up, look at menus and place their orders, then clerks will fill from behind a counter. The product behind the counters will be divided into four distinct categories: relax, unwind, centre and enhance. The orders will then be placed in a sealed brown paper bag. The Halifax store will have eight iPads for consumers to use to select what cannabis to purchase. Consumers will be happy to know that more than 70 strains of cannabis will be available.

Given all that is continually changing and evolving in the cannabis industry, it is expected to have misalignments on the “best approach.” NSLC store design is getting some criticism as some experts are saying that the current categories are breaking federal cannabis rules. Dr. Simon Sherry, a psychologist and professor at Dalhousie University is concerned that NSLC product classifications of “relax, unwind, centre and enhance” promotes cannabis in a way that's attractive and appealing, contrary to the Cannabis Act's section on promotion.

The Cannabis Act (section 17(1)(e)) prohibits promotion in a manner that "evokes a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.”

In a CBC article on August 7, 2018, David DiPersio, SVP and Chief Services Officer for the NSLC, said the product classifications were developed to educate consumers about how different strains of cannabis affect the mind and body. He continued to say “We feel it would have been a disservice and frankly a bit dangerous to our consumers if we weren't able to actually explain what experience could result from the usage of a particular strain of cannabis."

While both arguments have merit, it is critical for our society to understand that product education in a regulated industry is challenging. Limiting information about products will only cause buyers to be less informed and this will lead to issues for buyers, sellers, and governments.

Ultimately, the user must make responsible decisions after purchase. We look forward to solutions that can educate users while keeping within the boundaries of current regulations.


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