Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jan 2018
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2018 The Daily News
Author: Cody McEachern
Page: A3


Craft weed market great hypothetically, but likely a long way off

It isn't uncommon to see booths or tables of Nova Scotia's finest
craft beer, liquors or small-scale produced wines at local weekend
farmers' markets around Colchester.

With marijuana legalization on the horizon though, is there a
possibility craft weed or weed products could have the same future in
farmers' market environments?

"I don't know there will be the same kind of regulatory allowance for
marijuanaproduction as there is for craft breweries and wineries,"
said Margaret Congdon, manager of the Truro Farmer's Market.

"I think it depends a great deal on how that licensing would evolve.
If it gets to that point where there's a licensing and regulatory
allowance for that, if someone applied, we would look at that
application the same as we do any vendor applications."

The Truro Farmers' Market features vendors from Nova Scotia's craft
beer distilleries and wineries every Saturday, with tables and
displays of beers, liquors and

wines available to be sampled and purchased by anyone over

To sell at the market though, the vendors must be fully licensed, with
permission from the province's liquor commission before being approved.

"Their licensing allows them to sample a certain amount and to sell
full unopened bottles," said Congdon.

"Of course, they can't sell by the glass as there are specific
licensing requirements for that. As long as they are properly licensed
and permitted, which they must have on display, there is nothing
further they have to do other than adhering to individual market

So, could marijuana see the same type of licensing allowing it to be
sold in a market environment? Congdon is doubtful at the moment.

"It sounds like initially there will be such a limited number of
licensed providers that it might not be relevant for quite some time,"
she said.

"I also think the curve on those products still has to happen and it
will take a while to get there. It also depends on the products they
want to sell and if they would be a good fit at a farmers' market or

The provincial government is still looking at how legalized marijuana
will be handled within Nova Scotia, and have only confirmed it will be
sold through crown-owned NSLC stores.

When it comes to private sales licensing though, the topic hasn't even
been discussed.

"As time goes on, the market will likely evolve, but I would expect
that would be a little way off," said Beverley Ware, communications
advisor for the NSLC.

"The entire procurement and distribution system is being developed
right now, so they haven't made the final decision on how products
will be sold. All they are looking at right now is solely from NSLC
outlets, not from any private producers like you would see from a
winery, for example. It's not something being looked at right now."

Aside from the government's lack of discussion on licensing, the
possibility of a craft weed market could suffer from another big hit -
public opinion.

"I think the biggest difference is going to be in the public's
perception of those products. It's just not established," said Congdon.

"The liquor stores have been around for so much longer that the public
is very used to them and comfortable with their presence. Even if they
don't visit them, it's generally accepted at this point they exist.

"I think we can only wait and see how it evolves. I think farmers'
markets would be willing to look at whatever comes down the pipe, but
I don't think that will happen for marijuana for quite some time."
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