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Construction and staff training underway in P.E.I. in preparation for legal cannabis

Renovations have begun at 85D Belvedere Ave. for Charlottetown’s first provincially owned marijuana dispensary.
Renovations have begun at 85D Belvedere Ave. for Charlottetown’s first provincially owned marijuana dispensary. - Tony Davis

The final steps are rolling out on legislation to roll up.

The senate passed Bill C-45 Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday afternoon the federal government announced marijuana would be legal in Canada Oct. 17.

Heath MacDonald, minister of finance for P.E.I, believes the province will be ready within the timeline.

“The additional time was good for us,” MacDonald said.

The federal government extending the timeline from July 1 allowed the province to better prepare. MacDonald says the province has already started interviewing people to sell cannabis.

“We went through substantial screening of about 1,500 applicants. This week, 30 people were interviewed for managerial positions. The time has been good to allow us to do even more and delve into this a little more appropriately.”

Those employees will take approximately three to five weeks to complete training depending on the individual, MacDonald said.

The four provincial retail locations in O’Leary, Montague, Summerside and Charlottetown are expected to be up and running as well, MacDonald said.

The lone Charlottetown location for cannabis sales is 85D Belvedere Ave.

“If you drive by there today you are going to see a vacant establishment almost dead centre of that building,” MacDonald said.

Early Wednesday morning contractors were renovating the unit on Belvedere Avenue that is located in the centre section of Dow’s Plaza.

MacDonald is expecting to see just as many users order cannabis through the e-commence platform as those travelling to retail locations, but the province is not ready to announce what it will all cost yet.

“We don’t have a price point. We are trying to eliminate the black market on cannabis, so we won’t be showing those cards till we get closer to the time of sale.”

P.E.I.’s cannabis regime in a nutshell

  • The P.E.I. government will be the only distributor of recreational marijuana
  • Similar to liquor sales, the province will establish the Cannabis Management Corporation, which will manage four retail locations as well as online sales.
  • Retail locations will be in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and West Prince
  • Unauthorized vendors can face a fine between $5,000 and $10,000 for a first offence
  • Use of cannabis will be restricted to private dwellings. Public use will be prohibited
  • Public possession will be restricted to 30 grams
  • The minimum age for cannabis will be 19 years
  • Consumption of cannabis while driving a car or boat will remain prohibited
  • Islanders will be allowed to grow up to four plants for personal use

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