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Yukon picks site of territory’s first pot shop

Shop will take over lease of a building used by Department of Highways and Public Works for storage

The Yukon government has picked its location for the territory’s first cannabis retail store and signed on with a second cannabis producer to help stock the shelves.

The government-run store will be located at 120B Industrial Road.

Instead of buying a new building, the store will occupy space in a building currently being used by the Department of Highways and Public Works for storage.

“It was in good proximity and it was something that fit our needs,” said Steve Cummings, the director of operations for the Yukon Liquor Corporation.

The corporation originally issued a tender looking for a location to buy or lease a store and warehouse space, but only one bid came in at $3.4 million and the idea was scrapped earlier this year. Plans are now to warehouse the product at the liquor corporation’s warehouse.

Alicia Debreceni, a spokesperson for the Department of Highways and Public Works said the department’s warehouse will continue to “operate out of a more condensed space” in the back of the building.

As for why the idea to use a pre-exisiting government space wasn’t considered earlier, Cummings said the original plan was to have a permanent retail location.

“Things had change when we finally finalized the decision on how we were going to go forward with the cannabis rollout,” he said.

During the last sitting of the legislative assembly, the Yukon Liberals said their shop would only be temporary until private businesses can get up and running.

The new retail location needs about $250,000 worth of renovations to be ready to go, Cummings said.

He said he is confident the store will be up and running by the time the federal government legalizes recreational cannabis.

The Yukon government says it will sell a gram of marijuana starting at $8.

The liquor corporation announced it signed a deal with Ottawa-based Canopy Growth Corporation to supply marijuana to the store. It’s the second agreement of its kind for the territory.

Cummings said the deal with Canopy starts with an initial purchase of 50 kilograms and could involve up to 900 kgs over three years. The amount of cannabis the territory buys will depend on demand.

Canopy offers the flower, milled product, pre-rolled joints and oils, Cummings said. The government hasn’t settled on which specific products it will offer.

Cannabis producers are licensed by Health Canada. There aren’t any licensed producers in Yukon yet, according to the government.

Along with a physical location, the Yukon government has also promised an online shopping option for Yukoners in time for legalization.

Cummings said the territory has decided that Canada Post will be responsible for delivery of products bought online.

YG has decided not to train its own delivery staff.

“From a delivery perspective we’ve got a very big territory so it can be going almost anywhere and delivery would be very challenging outside of the Whitehorse area,” he said.

In an emailed statement to the News, Canada Post officials say they have been delivering medical marijuana since 2013 and are experienced enough to deliver recreational pot when it is legal.

Canada Post delivery staff will require ID from anyone receiving cannabis by mail, the statement says. The minimum age of consumption in the Yukon has been set at 19.

“If the receiver appears to be younger than 25 years old, our trained delivery agent will require an acceptable photo ID (proof of age) before handing the parcel to the individual,” the statement says.

“The proof of age requirement means we must also record the name and signature of the receiver. All cannabis shipments will continue to require the use of a trackable service; therefore, the sender, the receiver and Canada Post can track the package as it works its way through our processing and delivery network.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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