A sign on the door of Cannabis Yukon announces its last day in Whitehorse on Oct. 17. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

One year later, minister pressed for data on Yukon’s pot shop.

Minister John Streicker said he needs more time to gather the information

Yukon’s opposition parties are pressing the minister of community services to provide figures showing money spent on the now-closed government pot shop and data on whether there have been any decreases to black market sales.

John Streicker didn’t provide numbers during question period or to reporters following it.

“We’ve always had a target to break even, and the reason why we want a break even target, to hit zero … is because we’re trying to get the price as low as possible,” he said, adding the lower the price, the bigger the hit on the black market.

Asked for numbers, he said, “All I know is we’re close to zero. Give me a little bit of time, please. I don’t have dollar figure today. Totally happy to get those numbers.”

He said some costs will be recouped by liquidating assets.

The government-run pot shop closed on Oct. 17.

Streicker said $4.6 million of weed has been sold in the Yukon since the substance was legalized on Oct. 17 of last year.

Asked when data will be provided, Streicker said he will work to get a timeline. He said figures will be available once the private sector moves in to purchase assets.

“I’m not trying to be evasive in any way.”

Numbers showing how much of the black market has been displaced will be tabled eventually, Streicker said. It’s unclear when. He said “more” has been displaced now.

During question period, Yukon Party MLA Wade Istchenko asked how much money has been spent on the government facility and operations versus sales.

Hassard said data should have been provided on Oct. 17.

“That’s the minister’s responsibility to provide that information to Yukoners,” he said. “It’s a little bit off the minister wouldn’t be able to provide us with those numbers and to provide those numbers to the media today.”

NDP MLA Liz Hanson said it’s difficult to gauge impacts to public health and safety without data on black market displacement.

“This is not a benign substance, same as alcohol,” she said. “They need a framework for that kind of analysis.”

She commended the government for sticking to their word of keeping the pot shop open for one year before passing the torch to the private enterprises.

Streicker told reporters he tabled a return on the final day of the spring sitting showing the extent of black market displacement then. The document cites an national Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News showing that 35 per cent of people who purchased pot within the first month of legalization bought theirs from illegal sources.

Hanson said the third party recalls Streicker’s return as being anecdotal.

“You know, six months on he’s had the time to generate that,” she said.

Cannabis Yukon’s annual report doesn’t show how much the black market has been displaced.

It says roughly $3 million was spent on start-up costs of the pot shop and e-commerce site.

Contact Julien Gignac at

julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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