Pubdate: Thu, 26 Oct 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Kevin Bissett
Page: B4


New Brunswickers will buy their legal marijuana at a subsidiary of the
province's liquor commission - and have sommelier-like staff to guide

The province also announced Wednesday the stores will be more tightly
controlled than liquor outlets, but home delivery will be available.

"No one under the legal age will be allowed inside the premises. That
will happen at the reception area, after which people will be able to
enter the retail environment," NB Liquor president Brian Harriman told
a news conference.

"The product will be displayed under glass cases and it will be a
one-on-one shopping experience … We will ensure our retail staff are
highly trained and able to educate and help people who want to learn
about cannabis have that opportunity in the store environment."

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said other jurisdictions like Colorado
and Washington recommended starting with tight government oversight,
and New Brunswick's Crown-owned liquor agency is well-positioned for
the job.

"NB Liquor has the experience in the retail market selling a regulated
substance, and we believe their knowledge and expertise will provide
for a smooth transition into this new territory," she said.

The federal government is expected to legalize recreational marijuana
starting in July 2018, although some provinces, territories and police
agencies have lobbied for a delay. Federal Health Minister Ginette
Petitpas Taylor has said the government is sticking to the deadline,
and Rogers says that's the date New Brunswick is preparing for.

A tender was recently issued for 20 retail locations in 15 communities
across the province.

Harriman said the retail locations will be separate from anywhere
liquor is now sold. The number of employees has not been determined,
but each will require a lot of product knowledge, he said.

Jamie Agnew, president of the CUPE local that represents about 500 NB
Liquor employees, said staff will have to be trained much like
sommeliers in liquor stores.

"People need to know about the CBDs and the THCs, septiva and indica.
There's a lot of science around the marijuana now. Just as in wine and
scotch, there's a tasting wheel," said Agnew, who currently uses
medicinal marijuana himself.

Last month, Ontario announced it plans to set the minimum age at 19
and sell cannabis through government-run outlets.

Earlier this month, Alberta proposed to make 18 the minimum age to use
cannabis, with no decision yet on whether to sell cannabis through
government-run stores or through private operators. The Nova Scotia
government is seeking feedback on a legal age of 19 for marijuana use,
with sales through a Crown corporation like the Nova Scotia Liquor

Ross Wetmore, a critic for the Opposition Progressive Conservatives in
New Brunswick, said his party would have preferred a private retail
model, but will reserve further comment until they see all the details.

The minimum age to buy recreational marijuana, pricing, the name of
the new stores, and the kind of education programs have yet to be 

Wetmore said many of those things should already be

"We should have been starting our education right now. We are behind
on that. Law enforcement has some concerns. We have a lot of questions
to ask of the minister," Wetmore said.

Harriman said online sales will also be available for pick-up at a
retail store or home delivery.

He said it has not been determined who will do the home delivery, but
it will require the same kind of identification and age verification
at the door that's now in place for delivery of medicinal marijuana.

Both Rogers and Harriman say the goal is to get recreational cannabis
out of the hands of young people and criminals.
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