Let’s look at the Nova Scotia pot scene
Written by Danthe420Man
March 2, 2020
This is the first of a series of articles on the pot scene in Canada (as I see it) with frequent mentions of the Nova Scotia scene since I make my home in Halifax. If you want to respond with suggestions or share information, please do so in the comments! Thanks for reading and enjoy!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an expert on pot. But I’ve been smoking since my early teens, and that’s over 40 years of experience smoking pot and hash. Recreationally when younger and for medical purposes for many years now, mostly for pain management for severe arthritis and to help with chronic insomnia, depression and lack of appetite. I know everyone has different tastes and needs, so you might not agree with my assessments or reviews.
Pot (flower, bud) became legal in Canada, Oct. 17, 2018 and edibles became legal Oct. 2019. When I heard that the Clyde Street, Halifax NSLC was going to also become a pot store, I thought it was a great choice for a location, being right downtown, a block from Spring Garden Road and South Park Street. The first time I went in, the place was unappealing and there seemed to be a lot of empty space, since the display cases and information kiosks weren’t set up yet. This must have been hastily done, looking more like an afterthought than a well rolled-out plan.
Caveat emptor. Be careful when buying. One week, they will have new stuff with a high THC content (20% +) in the “no name” section at the front of their charts and it will be in the lower price range, like $25 to $35 for 3.5 grams. Then, when you go back looking for that strain a week or two later, they have renamed it and are charging $45 to $55 and higher for 3.5 grams: bait and switch at its best. They were also running out of pot often: this was a problem across the country at the time. That’s what happens when a government is flying by the seat of its pants. Sources have said that up to 7 or 8 months before legalization, the Liberals had yet to answer any questions asked by the opposition about their business plans for the legalization of marijuana.
In each province and territory, you can carry up to 30 grams on your person, about an ounce and 2 grams. Ontario is granting licenses to sell pot through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission: Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS.ca) at licensed, private, retail businesses while Nova Scotia sells pot and edibles through the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission / Nova Scotia Cannabis Commission.
People don’t mention, or seem to ignore, that while pot is legal for the government to sell, it’s still illegal for pot dealers, or anyone else to sell. A quick Google search revealed that you can be charged by the federal government:
“If you’re over 18 and in possession of more than 30 grams, it is a criminal offence under the federal Cannabis Act. If you sell or give cannabis to someone under 19 or involve them in a cannabis-related crime you may be fined up to $10,000.”
So, it’s still a crime to sell pot if you’re not licensed by the government. This statement, “You can only buy cannabis legally from NSLC” is taken directly from here:
I find that statement scary. It means that I can’t buy from anyone (legally) other than from the government. Something’s not right there. That’s legalization for the profit of the government. As usual, the little people are being screwed. Government is making a mint while dealers can’t sell pot. Why not decriminalization all drugs, as in Portugal and all the other countries listed here:
I had a prescription for medical pot for 5 years and had been buying mostly from dispensaries that only dealt with people who had valid and up-to-date prescriptions for medical weed. I was also still buying from my old dealers, because, you know, you have to stay in touch! And a lot of dealers still sell 3 grams for $25. Prices in the dispensaries were similar, but always a bit higher than dealers, with the average price of normal weed, like a low-grade Pink or Purple Candy Kush about $6 per gram, and, some of the best weed around, like Violator or Lindsay OG, at about $9 to $10 per gram. Until my prescription for medical marijuana ran out, I was not a frequent purchaser of product from the NSLC/NSCC. I would only go when I had to: when the dispensaries were closed or when my dealers were out.
As I stated earlier in the article, my very first experience buying pot at the NSLC/NSCC left a bad impression and I didn’t go back for months. They were open for business, but the displays and smelling stations weren’t in place. When I was served, I spoke with two young guys who were working together. I told them that I was used to buying my medical pot at dispensaries and that I could get a decent quality 3.5 grams for about $25 to $35. They laughed at me and said that I would never get the quality of pot I was getting at the dispensaries at this location, and that I’d pay around $50 for 3.5 grams! They said I might as well leave and go back to the dispensaries! They were rude, disrespectful, obviously high, and laughed at everything I said. I stormed out, promising to never return.
When you need pot, you usually know where to get it, but there are times when my trusted dealers’ pot cupboards are bare. I had to go back to the NSCC/NSLC eventually, but I was very weary after the disastrous encounter with those unpleasant clerks. Upon entering the store, it was obvious they had done a lot of work: there were stations set up with small clear plastic containers so that you can see and smell the pot: the lids have little aeration holes so you can smell the product before buying it. Information charts are available beside each pot container, with descriptions: great stuff! When they were about to open the edibles section on Clyde, it looked like a war zone in the store with major construction, dust and noise over the usual quiet.
QUALITY, PROPERTIES, MEDICINAL, ETC.
I’m usually looking for a high grade Indica, because I prefer its pain-killing properties and its propensity to get me high. The NSLC/NSCC had a good selection of Sativas and Indicas as well as pot with a high CBD content. The pot isn’t that high in THC concentration, running from 10% to 15% in the lower price range and 16% to 21% in the higher range. I have seen pot at 23% THC but it was prohibitively expensive, like $50 or $60 for 3.5 grams and usually sold out very fast. I like to buy the Tweed Bakerstreet, 21% THC. At 3.5 grams for $36.42: that’s $10.41/gram. I’m thinking, not bad, if the pot is good. When I twisted off the cover and pulled back the sealing tab, a very strong pot odor wafted up. It smelled super skunky: yes! Very dry, but an NSCC clerk later told me that there can be no humidity in their containers so that mold won’t form. Well, that makes for awfully dry pot: harsher on the throat and lungs, harder to roll, and lesser quality joints because they tend to run. Pot with 15 to 20% moisture is ideal, because then it’s humid enough to roll but not so dry as to crumble to a sediment-like substance when ground up in a crusher. I liked the weed: it alleviated all my symptoms, including vivid, disturbing PTSD-related nightmares. I’m much less likely to have them when I have smoked about an hour before going to bed. It helps with anxiety, calms me. Helps with depression, because I tend to think more pleasant thoughts and worry less. Helps me eat when I can’t, or don’t have the energy. Helps me concentrate, like when I’m writing. Puts me in a mood to listen to tunes that aren’t downer music. Plus, a good head buzz. Now that’s all good! Don’t be fooled by the weight of the container though; the plastic containers weigh approximately 100 grams, so you can’t judge the weight of your pot by what you hold in your hand.
As far as edibles go, here in Nova Scotia, there is a 3-month waiting period for all edibles, as well as other pot-containing products like teas: they have to be tested before they are sold. The NSLC/NSCC must know what will be sold in their stores, so Health Canada reviews the applications of proposed products to be offered and tests them for potency. Launch date was mid-December 2019 and supplies ran out within days.
From Halifax Today headline, Dec. 23, 2019: a small supply of edibles arrived in stores and were first on sale Monday, December 23.
I was there that day and a reporter was talking to the Regional Manager of the NSLCs/NSCCs about the launch of edibles. I was interviewed, and had lots say about how high the prices for pot were and what they were charging for edibles, which was $10 per 10 milligrams of THC. I told him that at two of the well-known local dispensaries, I could purchase a THC infused lollipop (cherry, grape, green apple or pineapple) for $7 to $10! Does that mean the NSLC/NSCC would sell those for $180? That’s ridiculous. The prices are going to have to change unless they just start selling to people who don’t know better and think they’re getting a good deal. Very expensive for pot and edibles. I haven’t looked at the shatter or concentrates. I have tried some THC concentrate with a dropper and that worked, but at approximately $40 a pop, it’s a lot of money.
One thing I find annoying is that the NSCC at the Joseph Howe location is at the back of the NSLC liquor store, looking like a sad afterthought. It’s got opaque glass at the entrance/exit, and a sad waiting area that makes me feel like a criminal surreptitiously buying pot, unseen by people – then having to carry it out in a brown paper bag, the same as with alcohol. If you can’t carry it in a pocket, you must carry it out in a store-supplied (and often wasted) paper bag. You can’t open it on the premises; they are very strict about this.
GOVERNMENT, POLITICAL, ETC.
One more thing: many people receive Social Assistance in Nova Scotia and other provinces. A lot have valid prescriptions for pot. If someone is on provincial social assistance and they already get their prescription drugs through the provincial Pharmacare program, why can’t the province provide medical marijuana directly to assistance recipients through Pharmacare? Just do it!
Basic information about pot’s legal status in Canada:
Province Legal Age Where to buy
Alberta 18 private licensed stores or online
B.C. 19 government-operated stores or online
Manitoba 19 private licensed stores or online
New Brunswick 19 government-operated stores or online
Nfld & Labrador 19 private licensed stores or online
NW Territories 19 government-operated stores or online
Nova Scotia 19 government-operated stores or online NSLC/NSCC
Nunavut 19 government-operated online store or by phone
Ontario 19 private licensed stores and government online
PEI 19 government-operated stores or online
Québec 21 government-operated stores or online
Saskatchewan 19 private licensed stores or online
Yukon 19 government-operated stores or online