NB seeks to cash in on burgeoning marijuana industry

Marijuana was once a taboo topic in New Brunswick, and even a career-killing scandal for one premier, but now the provincial government is looking to a burgeoning marijuana industry as a form of green gold.

Kent Hovey-Smith, a spokesman for Tidal Health Solutions, a marijuana production company setting up in St. Stephen, says he thinks New Brunswick is the most supportive provincial government to the cannabis industry.

The government has already provided financial assistance to Organigram in Moncton and Zenabis in Atholville to help the companies grow and create about 300 jobs.

Kirk MacDonald, the Opposition economic development critic, disapproves of the financial assistance, saying New Brunswick has the only cannabis producers in the country that receive corporate welfare.

But Premier Brian Gallant says the marijuana industry in Canada is expected to be worth billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs, and New Brunswick is making sure it gets in on the ground floor in efforts to grow the economy.

It's certainly a different attitude toward pot than in the 80's when then-premier Richard Hatfield was charged with criminal possession after marijuana was found in his suitcase.

He was acquitted but the scandal helped push him out of office.