Northwest Territories


Yellowknife city council talks cannabis sales zoning by-law

Yellowknifers are getting closer to legally buying cannabis products somewhere besides the liquor store.

At a city council meeting Monday, councillors discussed the regulatory framework for retail cannabis sales. Recreational cannabis became legal in the Northwest Territories on Oct. 17, following federal legislation, but the uptown liquor store is only retail location in the city. 

That framework could include a 100-meter buffer zone between shops selling cannabis and certain areas, such as elementary, junior and high schools, the Fieldhouse, the Yellowknife aquatic centre and arena, Stanton Hospital, medical centres, and daycares.

This map shows where cannabis could not be sold if the buffer zone is approved:


Some in N.W.T. still waiting for green light on new cannabis stores

Wednesday marks six months since cannabis was legalized in Canada. At least one entrepreneur in the Northwest Territories hoped to be selling cannabis in a retail location by now, but he's not.

"April 17th, they were supposed to start handing out licences, we thought — or we hoped — in the city [Yellowknife], but nobody seems to know," said Luke Wood, president of Releaf NT.

"It could be months away yet."

Releaf NT is a cannabis accessory shop that opened last weekend in Yellowknife. Wood said the company has applied to sell cannabis and filed an expression of interest to do so with the territorial government, but they are still waiting to hear what their next step will be.


Cost of cannabis up in Canada, NWT since legalization: Stat Can

The price of cannabis in the Northwest Territories and across Canada has risen since legalization says Statistics Canada.

A Stat Can report states the average price of legal and illegal cannabis has risen from $6.85/gram to to $8.05/gram after legalization.

In the Northwest Territories, a gram of cannabis cost an average $12.71 before legalization. Consumers are now paying $14.45/gram. This is a close to $2 – over 13 per cent – increase.

The NWT has the highest price of cannabis after legalization across the country, however, there is no post-legalization price for Nunavut as no answers were submitted. Nunavut had the highest pre-legalization average price of $15.24/gram.


What you need to know to start a legal cannabis grow-op

If Yellowknife's Jason Harker is successful in his quest to get a licence to produce cannabis, he'll become one of the first people to enter the industry in the Northwest Territories, if not the entire North. CBC News looked into what exactly a person needs to do in order to receive approval to run a grow-op in Canada.

What do I need to do to get licensed?

Shirley Toms, a regulatory consultant who works for Cannabis Compliance Inc., compares the process to a "4D matrix." Here's what's in that matrix:


A cannabis grow-op could be coming to Yellowknife

A proposed cannabis grow-op in Yellowknife got a warm reception from city councillors on Monday.

"You have somebody who wants to actually produce something that will be sold in the territory, that's a rarity up here. This should be applauded," Coun. Niels Konge said.

The warehouse facility would be located in the Engle Business District at 92 Falcon Road, west of the Yellowknife Airport.

Jordan Harker, the man behind the pitch, said the business is not affiliated with growers in southern Canada.

"We're looking at about 10 to 12 full-time jobs with probably 15 to 25 part-time jobs," he told city council during a committee meeting on Monday.

"It's our goal to be competitive with pricing."


Weed, roads, shelters and employment top of mind after N.W.T. budget revealed

Money in the latest budget that's allocated to go to five shelters in the N.W.T. will go a long way to help people in need, says the executive director of the local YWCA.

Lyda Fuller was at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday to hear the finance minister lay out the 2019-2020 operating budget. The Northwest Territories government expects to spend about $1.87 billion, slightly more than it brings in, over the next fiscal year.

The budget allocated $4.92 million to address the needs of vulnerable persons. Fuller says that includes an additional $500,000 to five family violence shelters in the territory.


Ban on 'intoxicants' will keep legal cannabis off Northwest Territories reserve

With cannabis legalization on the way, communities across the Northwest Territories have a decision to make — will they hold a vote to ban cannabis after more than 90 years of prohibition ends?

On K'atl'odeeche First Nation territory, however, where intoxicants have been illegal since the 1980s, community members have the opposite choice to make: will they repeal their prohibition for Canada's newest legal drug?

The K'atl'odeeche First Nation Reserve is one of six dry communities in the N.W.T. Under a section of the Indian Act, First Nations can prohibit the sale and consumption of all intoxicants on their territory.

For K'atl'odeeche Chief Roy Fabian, that law includes cannabis by default.


6 NWT communities face July 16 deadline for cannabis plebiscites

Communities without liquor store have more time to decide.

It will likely be months before cannabis becomes legally available across Canada and in the Northwest Territories, but one significant deadline looms for six communities in the N.W.T.

Municipalities with liquor stores have until July 16 to notify the government if a cannabis plebiscite to ban or restrict local sales is needed. Communities in the N.W.T. with liquor stores are Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson.

According to a government press release, once cannabis is available through a retail outlet, local governments will no longer be able to hold a plebiscite.


N.W.T. government gives liquor stores 6-month head start on selling legal cannabis

Government commits to allow private retail stores 6 months after legalization.

Private retail cannabis stores will be left out of the legal cannabis market in the Northwest Territories when the drug becomes legal, but the door is open for them to get in six months after that.

MLAs rejected an amendment to the territorial government's cannabis legislation Thursday that would have required the finance minister to keep the door open for private cannabis stores as soon as legalization happened.

But a so-called "compromise" motion presented following that vote did pass.

It allows the government to designate any store it deems "in the public interest" and calls for the development of criteria for judging public interest within six months of legalization.


Justice minister nixes private pot sales proposal : N.W.T.

Several regular MLAs have expressed disappointment that the territorial government appears unwilling to entertain the idea of the private sale of cannabis once it becomes legal across Canada this summer.

It will be sold in government controlled liquor stores in the six communities that have liquor stores and otherwise through mail order.

Hay River MLA R.J. Simpson says the government is going against the wishes of the majority of NWT residents who have made their opinions known.

MLAs visited 16 communities and six schools across the territory earlier this year to get public input of Bill 6 – the government’s cannabis regulation bill.


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