In the August 29 edition, The Reporter is publishing a four-page spread looking into the legalization of cannabis across Canada on October 17.

In addition to an article from The Reporter detailing the challenges to policing presented by legalization – including the fact there is no roadside test to detect impairment by cannabis – a number of publications under Advocate Media Inc. contributed to this feature.

Chris Benjamin, with Halifax Magazine asserts that a cannabis amnesty would be a good start in this process since nearly 18,000 people were arrested for possession in 2016 and there are now about 500,000 Canadians with criminal records due to marijuana possession.

Heather Brimmicombe, with the Pictou Advocate, writes how MADD is Canada is working to prevent cannabis-impaired driving. According to MADD, Nova Scotia has one of the highest rates of cannabis impaired drivers in the country, with 43 per cent of fatal crashes involving cannabis.

The staff of Lighthousenow asked whether black market marijuana will be a thing of the past. In Colorado many black market sellers decided to join the legal market, but the black market also took advantage of regulations regarding how many plants a person can legally grow, allowing them to cultivate a lot of product which now gets exported out of Colorado.

The staff of The Tatamagouche Light featured three Nova Scotia companies licensed to grow marijuana including Highland Grow Inc. which is cultivating product at a converted slaughterhouse in East Ohio, Antigonish County. While all companies have been licensed to grow marijuana for medical users, none currently have their license to sell the product come October 17. To obtain their retail license, the companies are required to grow two crops of marijuana, which will be sent to an external lab for inspection. The inspection lab must meet Health Canada’s specifications. Once the marijuana is approved, an audit of the producer’s systems must also be completed. Health Canada confirmed that 13 applicants for licensing in Nova Scotia have been rejected. As of May 11, nine were going through the reviewing process, with one in initial screening, and five going through security clearance. One applicant has withdrawn from the process.

The Weekly Press conducted an overview of local cannabis rules detailing how Nova Scotia has passed the Cannabis Control Act, two parts of which are now in effect. The article details that Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) outlets will be selling cannabis on October 17, including 151 Church Street in Antigonish.

In a completely different take on this issue, The Saint Croix Courier took a millennial’s view. In this Op Ed piece, this New Brunswick community newspaper asserts that the government needed to put a plan in place to be able to make adult cannabis use profitable, and also knew they needed a progressive demographic to support the new movement. Cue the millennials.

The Saint Croix Courier also contrasted legalization in New Brunswick versus Nova Scotia. In New Brunswick, Cannabis NB will be a subsidiary of NB Liquor, and will be the only outlets that will sell recreational cannabis. Even though the two different retailers will be overseen by the same government regulated crown corporation, there will be significant differences between the two both in their business models and their cosmetic appearance.

By contrast, the NSLC will have only one stand alone cannabis retailer throughout the province, and will house the rest of their cannabis sales directly in pre-existing NSLC retailers in specific sections of each store. NSLC will update its existing infrastructure and thus will incorporate the new cannabis additions into the already modern interior of the pre-existing NSLC retailers.

While many other media outlets across the country will or have already rolled out their coverage of legalization, Advocate Media decided to tackle this issue from a the community’s perspective.

By examining the impact legalization will have on law enforcement, the criminal justice system, municipal governments, non-profit groups, motorists, young people, and local businesses, this feature includes unique viewpoints that hopefully generate discussion, and above all, inform readers.

We hope you enjoy this feature!