Pubdate: Tue, 13 Feb 2018
Source: Cape Breton Post (CN NS)
Copyright: 2018 Cape Breton Post
Author: Chris Shannon
Page: A1


With the legalization of recreational cannabis, local merchants look
to capitalize on the sale of marijuana merchandise

Everything from bongs to pipes and vaporizers will likely become
commonplace in local smoke shops as recreational cannabis sales will
become legal this summer.

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp., which will operate marijuana
dispensaries from nine liquor outlets in the province, has said it
will leave the sale of cannabis accessories and related products to
the private sector.

That news was received well by smoke and e-cigarette shops that are
hoping to expand their line of products to include accessories used by
marijuana users.

Walter Burgess, manager of Coastal Vapor's three stores in Sydney,
Glace Bay and New Waterford, said he's been selling e-cigarettes and
associated merchandise since December 2014 and plans to move toward
selling marijuana paraphernalia too. Before he does, he'll be looking
for clarification from the provincial and federal governments on what
items he can sell.

"I would carry (marijuana merchandise) right in my stores but if
they're not going to allow me to do that, I'll set up a separate
entity and open a separate store," Burgess said in an interview Monday.

"I'm thinking if we do a brick and mortar (store) it's going to be in
Glace Bay and we'll use our other stores as depots where people can
order and pick it up there."

He said he would also look at launching a website to promote and sell
the accessories.

NSLC CEO Bret Mitchell said it's the intention of the liquor
corporation to keep to the "essentials" and leave the private sector
to sell accessories specific to the use of cannabis.

"It'll just be the basic things that are required, probably some kind
of trimmer, probably some type of bong inhaler," Mitchell said on Jan.
30 at a news conference to announce which NSLC outlets would be
carrying marijuana.

The Sydney River NSLC outlet will be the only store in Cape Breton
where legal cannabis can be purchased.

Figures released from Statistics Canada last year show Canadians spent
an estimated $5.7-billion on cannabis. About 4.9 million people
between the ages of 15 to 64 purchased both medical and non-medical
cannabis in 2017, according to the report. Medical marijuanais already
legal in the country.

The average cannabis user spent about $1,200 on the drug last year,
mostly on non-medical marijuana, the report said.

Burgess said it's tough to say how much money there is to be made on
merchandise and accessories, as they're typically one-time purchases.

But there may be more people willing to purchase marijuana accessories
in-store as it becomes more socially acceptable to do so, he added.

"There's a lot of people who smoke weed who don't want to let on that
they do."

At Mary Jane's Smoke Shop, also on Charlotte Street in Sydney, there
is more of a wait-and-see attitude on how the legalization of cannabis
will change the shop's retail offerings.

The store already sells many items marijuana users are looking for
such as bongs, pipes and vaporizers.

Mary Jane's manager Sherri Mombourquette said a lot of the products
are considered novelty items.

"Vaporizers are very popular," she said, "(as) it's lighter on the
lungs since it's a vapor, not smoke."

She said she's hopeful the legalization of cannabis will eventually
grow the business.

"Once they put more information out there then we'll know more about
what we're going to be allowed to do and what we're not going to be
allowed to do."

The full implementation of legal cannabis could happen after July 1,
according to the federal government, if more time is required for
provinces to put the legal framework in place.
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