New research numbers: when it comes to recreational cannabis, Queens County residents still buy more from illegal dealers

by Charles Mandel

  • <p>File photo</p><p>An NSLC cannabis outlet.</p>

Residents of Queens have proven diffident when it comes to the purchase of recreational marijuana from official outlets, according to new statistics released September 26 from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. (NSLC).

At only 17 per cent, Queens County posted some of the lowest number for purchasers for legal cannabis from NSLC, according the liquor corporations's research.

Beverley Ware, communications advisor for the NSLC, told LighthouseNOW that while only 17 per cent purchased recreational marijuana from the NSLC, when sales figures took into account purchases from both the liquor corporation and illegal sources, the number of purchasers in Queens shot up to 71 per cent.

"It will be a case of decreasing visits to illegal dealers," said Ware, who noted that the initial pricing and poor supply of legal marijuana is what may have steered Queens County residents to pursue other options for purchase. As well, the nearest store for Queens residents is one county over in Bridgewater.

However, Ware said the NSLC is taking steps to remedy the problems, including adjusting pricing, and she noted the stores are no longer facing the same supply issues that they did early on when the federal government legalized recreational marijuana approximately one year ago.

As more producers have received their licenses to sell to the NSLC, the corporation has added their products to its shelves. One such supplier is Aqualitis, which is located in Queens County.

Ware said that a recreational marijuana store isn't planned for Queens, but that the NSLC is focusing on online sales. Part of the reason new stores aren't planned currently is the corporation is preparing its 12 stores that retail cannabis products for the next product launch, which will include edibles, extracts, and topicals.

It is expected the next generation of products will be available on the shelves no later than late December.

The NSLC conducted the survey to better understand how well the corporation is measuring up in meeting its new mandate to provide recreational cannabis in Nova Scotia. The NSLC hired Narrative Research to conduct a telephone survey of 3,460 Nova Scotia residents with results carrying a margin of error of +/-1.7 per cent 19 times out of 20.

The research also included two online surveys of 1,907 Nova Scotians between March 26 and April 20, 2019.

In general the research found that a quarter of adult Nova Scotians have bought cannabis for recreational and/or medical purposes. The survey also found that the key reasons customers purchase from the illicit market are price, product quality and selection and convenient access.

Across the province, Cumberland and Victoria Counties lead with the highest incidences of purchasers, respectively 33 and 34 per cent. Digby posted the lowest numbers are 16 per cent.

The research found the most important factors when deciding where to buy recreational cannabis come down to product quality, value for money, convenience and price, while privacy and security of personal information also play an important role.

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