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Cannabis legalization could prompt new trade battle in the Maritimes

Potential cross-border cannabis battle lighting up
WATCH: Some students at Mount Allison University say they'll be Amherst-bound to purchase cheaper pot. Callum Smith explains why.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia may be staring down another cross-border trade battle, but this time it may be over cannabis and not beer.

Despite both provinces granting a crown corporation a monopoly over sales of the green, each has taken different approaches to the legalization of marijuana — which comes into effect on Wednesday.

New Brunswick will use 20 standalone retail spaces they’ve branded as Cannabis NB while Nova Scotia has decided to incorporate their sales in a hybrid Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation store in all but one of their 12 locations.

READ MORE: Cannabis NB’s website goes live, prices starting at $8.50 a gram

The starkest difference between the two provinces is the more than $2 gap between what each province advertises as their price per gram for cannabis.

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A gram of cannabis will cost Nova Scotians anywhere from $6.33 to $10.99 and up while the price of dried flow cannabis will range from $8.50 to $15.50 a gram in New Brunswick.

It’s the difference in prices that are prompting some to speculate whether it may be worth it for New Brunswickers — especially those along the border — to purchase their cannabis in Nova Scotia.

READ MORE: In major shift, the U.S. says it won’t ban Canadian pot workers

Students at Mount Allison told Global News that the cost may prompt them to shop at the NSLC store in Amherst, N.S., rather than the nearby Cannabis NB store in Sackville.

“I feel like people will go to other places to buy it for cheap, and then come back and sell it for more,” said one student, “so I feel like they need to touch on that issue a bit as well.”

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Mark Barbour, a Cannabis NB spokesperson, said its stores are set up to serve residents within the province’s border and that they have yet to review prices in neighboring provinces.

READ MORE: Think twice before taking pot on flights after legalization, transport minister warns

Nova Scotia only revealed their cannabis pricing on Monday.

The discussion comes only months after a Supreme Court of Canada decision on on inter-provincial trade.

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The court ruled a law preventing New Brunswickers from stockpiling beer from other provinces was constitutional. Whether that decision could apply to cannabis remains to be seen.

But the two province’s could start planning for a possible legal battle as cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday.

— With files from Callum Smith