Crystal Schick/Yukon News The Cannabis Yukon storefront sign is hung in Whitehorse on Oct. 17, 2018 just before the store opens its doors to public for the first time. The store is set to close exactly one year later on Oct. 17, 2019.

Yukon government gets set to shut territory’s government-run pot shop

The doors will shut at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17. Online sales will continue

The Yukon government’s Cannabis Yukon shop, which opened the day cannabis became legal in 2018, will close permanently one year later to the day on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

The Yukon government announced the plans Sept. 12. Officials have previously said the store would likely close before the end of the year, but had never specified a date.

The territorial government will continue its online cannabis sales.

A tender is set to be released to potentially sell the location. Once bids for the sale of the store are reviewed, the Yukon Liquor Corp. will announce whether the store will be sold as a complete operation or if assets will be sold separately.

Any unsold product is slated to make its way back to the government warehouse.

“Unsold product from the retail store will return to the warehouse for distribution to private licensees and/or sale through CannabisYukon.org,” Liberal cabinet spokesperson Matthew Cameron said in an email.

All seven staffers at the store were working on one-year contracts and are either returning to previous positions or have found work elsewhere, he said.

As John Streicker, the minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corp., said in a Sept. 13 interview: “It was set up with an eye toward closing.”

The Liberals have said they would close the store once the private sector was established.

Two private stores have opened in the territory — one in Whitehorse and another in Dawson City. Licences have also been approved for a store in Carmacks and two more in Whitehorse. Another two potential retail locations in Whitehorse and one in Watson Lake are currently going through the application process.

“It went off exactly as we thought,” Streicker said, deeming the government store a success and praising staff for making it successful.

Officials said in a statement that since opening, Cannabis Yukon has sold just under $4 million worth of cannabis, “helping to displace the territory’s illicit market.”

“In addition to legal, controlled access to cannabis, the retail store has provided detailed product and health information to help Yukoners make informed decisions and engage in responsible consumption.”

The next phase of Canada’s cannabis legislation will see edibles and concentrates become legal on Oct. 17.

Streicker said it will likely be months after that before any show up on the shelves of local private cannabis shops in the territory, given the time between legalization, manufacturing and distribution.

As new products such as edibles become available, more will be displaced from the illicit market, he said.

“We all want to displace the black market.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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