Whitehorse city council voted 6-1 Feb. 26 to restrict cannabis retail sales to Marwell.
Coun. Betty Irwin was the only councillour to oppose the restriction during second and third reading of the zoning amendment.
“I’m going to be voting against this bylaw,” said Irwin. “If only to go on record to express my dissatisfaction with the establishment of a retail sale monopoly of this product in the territory.”
She said she doesn’t want to see the sale of cannabis restricted to a single location she feels is unsuitable.
“Any business knows that to sell a product, it’s location, location, location and this is probably the worst possible location that could have been picked,” she said.
“If YG wants to wipe out the black market in cannabis by locating the only legal outlet in an area of town that is difficult to get to, practically inaccessible at some times, it isn’t going to have much impact on the black market economy.”
Curtis noted that Canada is experiencing a “sea change” with the new cannabis legislation and everyone is moving through it one step at a time.
“It’s been my understanding that the next thing that comes up from the federal government, through the territorial government, is oil,” said Curtis. “Like, hash oil, weed oil. And after that it’ll be edibles. And after that perhaps it’ll be cafes where you can partake in some marijuana. And after that we’ll be looking at grow-ops. So there’s many, many steps to this new world that’s not just retail.”
Curtis said it’s impossible to make suggestions and determinations about the locations of establishments that would cater to those needs, when the only direction from the federal government at the moment is distribution and warehousing of dry cannabis.
He said YG might not even find a suitable location in Marwell.
He said it will be up to this council or the next council to consult with the public and decide where people want additional locations down the road.
“And I’d like to stress that no one is trying to demonize marijuana, or cannabis, or oils, or edibles,” he said. “We’re just trying to follow the process, which is a brand new day in a brand new world from the federal government. So, step by step.”
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