The company that was recently denied approval to open a cannabis store adjoining the downtown Whitehorse Domino’s Pizza wants the court to review the Cannabis Licensing Board’s (CLB) decision.
Community Cannabis Inc. filed the application for judicial review with the Supreme Court of Yukon on March 10. According to the court filing, the company approached the Yukon Liquor Corporation in the fall of 2022 seeking licensing for a cannabis store located in Unit A of 2193 2nd Ave., the other half of the building where Domino’s is located.
The document filed with the court states that the company applied for the license on Nov. 9. They were informed the application was complete and bound for the Cannabis Licensing Board on Nov. 24.
The court documents claim that objections to the approval of the license were received from the Yukon Montessori School due to proximity to one of its facilities referred to in the court documents as “Casa.” Proximity to a site at 100 Keish St. identified as space for a future school was also cited as a concern.
Yukon Montessori School’s website describes Casa as two preschool age classrooms it operates in Whitehorse.
The licensing application was denied Feb. 17, following a Feb. 14 hearing of the concerns. Court documents state the hearing was attended by the applicant and Yukon Liquor Corporation representatives as well as representatives of the school and another Whitehorse cannabis store who both voiced opposition.
The company claims that the liquor corporation advised them that the site would be suitable for the planned store in October 2022 prior to the filing of their application. Court filings say they were told it was not within 150 metres of a school which is a requirement under the Yukon’s cannabis regulations. Acting on this information, Community Cannabis Inc. claims it spent $70,000 preparing the store and signed an eight-year lease before finding out that their licensing application had been denied.
The definition of a school under the Cannabis Act is a major point of Community Cannabis Inc.’s argument against the licensing decision. The company argues that Casa is a child daycare program operated by the Montessori school, but not a school itself and claims that no evidence demonstrating planned future occupancy of the Keish Street site by a school was presented.
In the application for judicial review, Community Cannabis Inc. argues that the licensing board’s decision to deny their application based on the classification of the Casa and the future school as schools is unreasonable.
“The Cannabis Act must establish a fair balance between certainty and predictability for individuals that wish to engage in the business of selling cannabis, and the protection of the public,” the application for judicial review reads.
“The decision of the CLB is unreasonable and should be quashed. The applicant asks this court to order the CLB to issue the requested license forthwith.”
The written objections to the cannabis store licensing filed before the license was denied noted concerns about the proximity of the proposed cannabis retailer to Shipyards Park along with the existing Casa classroom and the planned additional school.
— With Files from Dana Hatherly
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com