NSLC Releases Cannabis Research Results

Halifax, September 26, 2019A majority of Nova Scotians who purchase recreational cannabis say they get it from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC), according to research conducted by the Crown Corporation.

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.

“This research will help inform decisions on how the NSLC will adapt to meet customer expectations,” said Greg Hughes, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NSLC.

The research says one-quarter of adult Nova Scotians purchase recreational cannabis and one in five are new since legalization. Customers who purchase from the NSLC say they do so because they trust the product to be safe, there is a good product selection, the stores are legal and they’re easy to access.

“The results tell me the NSLC has made an excellent start on providing Nova Scotians with a safe and secure supply of recreational cannabis,” said Karen Casey, Minister of the Department of Finance and Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

Purchasers rate the NSLC highly for its in-store experience, including staff friendliness and knowledge, store layout and wait times and their overall experience.

However, there is clearly room for improvement. The survey tells us product prices are the main reason purchasers do not shop at the NSLC. Other key factors include supply, the quality of products and access to stores.

The NSLC has made progress in these areas. As more producers have received their licenses to sell to the NSLC, the Corporation has added their products to its shelves. Overall, the NSLC is no longer dealing with the supply issues it faced in the early weeks and months after legalization.

As expected, prices are starting to come down as more product enters the market and the industry matures, and customers appreciate the improved quality of products now available, particularly that of local producers.

Mr. Hughes said the information gathered from the surveys will assist the NSLC as it considers how to improve access to recreational cannabis across the province and prepares to offer edibles, extracts and topicals when they become legal to sell in late December at the earliest.

 Research Highlights:

  • One-quarter of adult Nova Scotians purchased cannabis and almost half – 49 per cent - are in the 19-34 age range.
  • 41 per cent of Nova Scotians who purchased recreational cannabis did so through the NSLC only.
  • An additional 40% of Nova Scotians purchased from both the NSLC and other sources, resulting in 81% of recreational cannabis users purchasing from the NSLC.
  • Almost one in five customers has been purchasing cannabis for six months or less, suggesting a relatively high level of new users.
  • Primary reasons customers purchase cannabis from the NSLC: convenient store locations, stores are legal, trust in the safety of the product.
  • Key reasons customers purchase from the illicit market: price, product quality and selection and convenient access.
  • Price, quality and the THC/CBD ratio are the three primary factors considered when buying.

More detailed information is attached.

About the NSLC

The NSLC manages the safe and responsible sale of beverage alcohol and recreational cannabis in Nova Scotia, returning 100% of its profits to government to help fund key public services. As a true partner in our communities, the NSLC conducts its business with integrity and respect for the environment, while supporting the growth of local industry. For more information about the NSLC, please visit our website at myNSLC.com.

For more information please contact:

Beverley Ware

Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation 


O: (902) 450-5920

M: (902) 456-5040

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