This is what the end of cannabis prohibition will look like in New Brunswick: An upscale showroom with black ceilings, grey walls and a once-illicit drug displayed in brightly lit glass cases.
“Think along the lines of a jewellery store. Very chic, very modern, very clean-cut lines,” New Brunswick Liquor Corp. spokesman Mark Barbour says in an interview.
“That’s where the product will be kept, in locked glass cases, and from there the transaction will be made and proceed to a point-of-sale area.”
With less than seven months to go before recreational marijuana is legalized, provinces and territories are scrambling to come up with plans to sell cannabis.
But only scant details have emerged about what the retail experience of buying legal weed will be like.
Ottawa lawyer Trina Fraser predicts it won’t be much akin to buying a bottle of scotch.
“Think more like tobacco as opposed to alcohol,” she says. “It’s not going to be like you’ll walk in and there are samples.”
New Brunswick’s retail scheme — which appears to be the most advanced among the provinces — offers an early peek at how consumers will buy the drug.
The province has issued construction specs featuring a standalone brick store with a black awning featuring the CannabisNB logo.
But despite the upscale interior, the entrance will reflect governments’ cautious embrace of cannabis: Stern security guards will swipe identification cards to confirm customers are 19 and over before allowing them to step inside.
Beyond this forbidding first interaction, staff in a reception area with glossy white tables and bright green chairs will explain safe and responsible recreational cannabis use, harm reduction and the laws of the land. Formalities taken care of, customers are escorted into a gleaming 3,000 square-foot weed…