When cannabis is legalized later this year, the former premier of Nova Scotia says the black market won't disappear.
Darrell Dexter, now a cannabis consultant with Global Public Affairs, said the illegal market is well established and access will be a big issue in the province's current plan.
Nine Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores have been picked to sell the product, leaving many residents in rural areas far from a purchase location.
When it comes to alcohol, he said there is approximately one NSLC for every 4,800 Nova Scotians; with pot, it will be one for every over 100,000 people.
The province is hoping online sales will fill the void, but Dexter said basic economics is what will determine where customers go to buy the product.
"The lowest cost and best developed supply chain will still win," he told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show.
He believes the current distribution plan is just a start to get sales up and running and expects a certain number of Nova Scotians to play by the rules.
"What we know from the experiences in other jurisdictions, when you move over to a regulated market, about 30 per cent of that market comes over automatically because people want to operate in the legal system," he said.
He added consumers who take the legal route will also have guarantees when it comes to purity, proof of origin and potency.
Dexter said legalized cannabis won't be a cash cow for the province and in fact, it could take years before it's profitable.
"It is quite likely that between the distribution system, the health and safety considerations, the policing, this is going to be a cost to government for many years to come," he said.