NB's predicted pot revenue has gone up in smoke

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People won't be smoking legalized cannabis for another four months - but the New Brunswick government says millions in revenue from cannabis sales has already gone up in smoke. 

The original plan was for sales to start July 1, but the delay will cost the provincial government and it’s affecting jobs in the cannabis stores.

Now that we know Oct. 17 will be day for legal weed, other things are becoming clearer, too.

“Although it has never been the main focus, the delay in implementation will impact our revenue projections,” said New Brunswick Finance Minister Cathy Rogers.

The provincial budget in January indicated an expectation of $7.2 million in revenue between Canada Day and the end of fiscal year.

With the legalization date now set for the fall... That revenue expectation has been dropped to about $3.6 million.

“We're looking at a break even situation right now because we have been, and will be, incurring expenses,” Rogers said.

Several Cannabis NB stores have already been built and store managers have been hired.

They plan to hire an additional 140-to-160 people.

New Brunswick Health Minister Benoit Bourque says now that the province knows the legalization date, it can hire accordingly.

A new educational campaign titled “I’m in control” has already begun, and more will be added in September.

“It will target the vulnerable populations and specific populations, but namely the youth, which as far as we're concerned at the Department of Health, is the main population we want to target.”

Regulations are being finalized. For example, a landlord who already allows tobacco to be smoked in their buildings will not be allowed to ban any tenant from puffing on marijuana.

“If it's already identified that they're not able to smoke, then they're not able to smoke regardless of what the substance is if you will,” said Kim Snow, New Brunswick’s chief residential tenancies officer

One thing that remains unknown is how much it’s going to cost to buy recreational marijuana.

The provincial government says being competitive will be priority, but wouldn't elaborate on who they're comparing that to.

The finance minister said Thursday -- and has been saying for a long time -- that making a profit is not the top priority in New Brunswick; instead, it’s keeping marijuana away from young people.

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