This is what the end of cannabis prohibition in New Brunswick will look like: an upscale boutique with a previously illicit drug in illuminated shop windows.
“Imagine something that looks like a jewelery shop. Very chic, very modern, very clean, “says New Brunswick Liquor Corporation spokesman Mark Barbour.
“This is where the product will be kept, in locked glass displays, and from there, the transaction will be made and will move to the sales area,” he adds.
With less than seven months to legalize recreational cannabis, the provinces and territories are struggling to oversee its sale.
Trina Fraser, a lawyer specializing in the field, does not expect the shopping experience to be similar to that of a scotch bottle. “Think of tobacco rather than alcohol,” she says.
New Brunswick’s retail plan – which appears to be the most advanced of all provinces – provides insight into how consumers will get the drug.
The New Brunswick government has laid out a plan for a brick building with a black awning featuring the CannabisNB logo.
Despite its luxurious interior, the entrance to the store will take into account the caution of the authorities: security guards will check the identity cards of customers and block access to those under 19 years.
After this first interaction, consumers will pass through a reception area where staff will provide information on the safe and responsible use of cannabis, as well as the regulations in force.
After completing these formalities, guests will be escorted to the bright 3000-square-foot shop.
On July 1, 2018, overnight, a previously clandestine transaction will become a government-approved transaction, subject to excise and consumption taxes.
Various sales models
Although it appears that the online distribution and sale of cannabis will be largely under government control, the provinces and territories have opted for a variety of free-market models.
Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will put in place a system similar to that of the Crown corporations that deal with the liquor trade.
Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba, for their part, entrusted this mandate to the private sector, while British Columbia turned to a hybrid model.
Saskatchewan appears to be leaning towards the private sector, while public consultations continue in the territories.
“For provinces that will go with a Crown corporation for wholesale, it will probably be a very dirty experience,” says Rosalie Wyong, an analyst at the CD Howe Institute in Toronto.
“Someone who has never even considered smoking a pot will be able to enter the shop and feel comfortable. There will probably be many more customer service staff to help the customer with the products and provide explanations, “she adds.
The private sector will likely offer a broader spectrum of price-related services, she predicts. She believes that this model would more quickly bite the dust on the black market, in addition to ensuring better coverage of the territory than the shops run by the government.
For example, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario plans to open 40 stores in 14 municipalities this July, a number that Wyong says will not meet the demand.
Curious people from across the province will be able to buy cannabis online.
But to compete effectively with organized crime, buying the legal “pot” will have to be practical, warns Jenna Valleriani, a sociology doctoral student at the University of Toronto who is interested in addiction.
“For people who have been shopping with a friend or acquaintance for 15 years, these are really hard practices to change,” she says. If you have to go to a shop and line up for an hour, it will probably deter people from moving around. ”
Like the end of the prohibition on alcohol, the strict laws surrounding marijuana use will likely ease over the years.
Jenna Valleriani believes that the ‘stereotype of the’ poteux ” will persist however a certain time.
“I think there will be a lot of residual stigma,” says the academic. I am not convinced, for example, that a primary school teacher will want to be seen leaving a cannabis shop. ”
Valleriani, however, feels that much of the action that governments take is not necessary, such as the need to keep the drug under lock and key in New Brunswick.
“There is absolutely a hysteria around cannabis at home and around young people,” she taunts.
It wishes to emphasize that the fear that the legalization of cannabis leads to a skyrocketing of its consumption is unfounded.
“There will initially be a small increase because it will be new for many people,” she acknowledges.