Following consultation with Nova Scotians, health experts, law enforcement officials, municipalities, and other stakeholder groups, the province announced key decisions about the legalization of cannabis today, Dec. 7.
These decisions follow the federal government’s decision to legalize recreational cannabis by July 2018.
The key policy decisions on cannabis are:
— a legal age of 19 for use, purchase and possession
— distribution and sales will be online and in existing Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) stores. The number of locations is not yet determined
Federal legislation outlining the following restrictions is accepted by the province:
— a personal possession limit of up to 30 grams
— a personal cultivation limit of up to four plants per household
— the establishment of provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams
“As we prepare for the legalization of cannabis, our top priority has been the health and safety of Nova Scotians, especially children and youth,” said Mark Furey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “The policy decisions announced today, and those yet to come, have been greatly informed by the feedback we received through our extensive consultation, as well as the experience of other jurisdictions.”
A legal age of 19 brings Nova Scotia in line with Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick. All provinces that have announced their legal age, with the exception of Manitoba, have chosen to align with their legal drinking age.
“The NSLC has the experience and expertise to distribute and sell restricted products like alcohol and now cannabis in a socially responsible way,” said Mr. Furey. “We believe the NSLC is best positioned to sell cannabis, keeping it out of the hands of young people and making it legally available in a safe, regulated way.”
Details of online sales and location of retail stores will be announced later.
The province plans to make additional announcements about the legalization of cannabis as decisions are finalized. Government will continue to review the feedback it received through consultation as it develops the plans and strategy going forward.
In October, the province conducted public consultations on the legalization of cannabis. A What We Heard document, which summarizes the findings of 31,000 completed online surveys and stakeholder meetings and submissions, can be found at www.novascotia.ca/cannabis.