Northwest Territories

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NWT cannabis sales triple in three years: Liquor and cannabis commission


Sales of cannabis products in the Northwest Territories have nearly tripled in just three years, according to data from the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NWTLCC).

The NWTLCC publishes quarterly reports on the sale of liquor and cannabis in the territory. In the first quarter of 2018, NWT residents bought about $688,000 worth of cannabis products. By the last quarter of 2021, that figure had risen to nearly $1.9 million.

Dried cannabis continues to account for the bulk of sales. In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, dried cannabis generated $4.1 million — or about 77 per cent — of all sales. Inhaled cannabis extracts were also popular, accounting for about $774,000, or 14 per cent of sales.


New study will look at cannabis use in territories

rolling a joint

A new three-year study to determine how cannabis is used in Canada’s territories has been launched by a group of university researchers and health experts, with funding from Health Canada.

The study will look at local views and behaviours towards the drug. Behind it are David Hammond, a research chair in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, and Erin Hobin, a senior scientist at Public Health Ontario.

Hammond has been studying cannabis use and legalization for over a decade and said he’s often asked by international researchers about cannabis use in Canada but hasn’t been able to offer a clear picture of how it is used in the territories.


Designated cannabis vendors eligible to operate online stores for NWT customers

cannabis leaf

As of October 18, 2021, all qualified designated retail cannabis vendors are eligible to operate an online store to serve NWT customers. 

Currently, ReLeaf NT is the only active retail cannabis outlet interested in operating an online store for residents of the Northwest Territories. They also operate a brick-and-mortar cannabis store in Yellowknife.

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC) issued an expression of interest on July 11, 2021 to determine if current designated vendors were interested in operating online stores.


Retailers pursue cannabis sales in Inuvik, Hay River, Norman Wells

cannabis plant

Private cannabis stores may soon be coming to Inuvik, Norman Wells, and Hay River – but not Fort Simpson and Fort Smith.

A cannabis plant grows in a Yellowknife greenhouse in the summer of 2020. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Requests for qualifications, which allow potential vendors to pre-qualify for the process by which the NWT government selects a store operator, closed for the five communities between December and February.

Around the same time, two private retail cannabis stores were given permission by the territorial government to operate in Yellowknife.

No businesses applied to operate a store in Fort Simpson or Fort Smith.


N.W.T.'s first private pot stores get green light from government

The Northwest Territories' first private retailers of cannabis will open their doors soon, after the government announced final approval in a press release Tuesday morning.

Two stores, ReLeaf NT and Trailblazers Cannabis Shop, were named in the release.


ReLeaf has been operating as a cannabis accessories store since early April of last year from a storefront at 5123 51st St. in Yellowknife. Luke Wood, the proprietor, has been a vocal advocate for private retail since legalization.


Black market buds bring down the price of pot in Northwest Territories

Canada’s black market has been good for the price of legal green in Yellowknife.

The Consumer Price Index for recreational marijuana dropped a whopping 10 per cent from August 2019 to August 2020, according to My Yellowknife Now. The CPI is a statistical estimate that measures the difference in the cost of a product against a set average price.


Former Ice Road Truckers cast member to be sentenced for explosion from making cannabis shatter

Arthur “Art” Burke pled guilty to causing arson by negligence

A former cast member of hit reality TV show Ice Road Truckers will be sentenced on Friday in connection to an explosion caused by a homemade batch of cannabis shatter, CBC News reports.

Earlier this year, Arthur “Art” Burke pleaded guilty to causing arson by negligence after admitting to trying to create cannabis concentrate in the bathroom of an apartment in Yellowknife last November. 

Creating shatter requires the combination of plant materials and solvents and uses a large amount of butane, a flammable liquid that converts to gas at room temperature. A powerful explosion was caused once the butane ignited, blowing the bathroom door off its hinges and causing over $60,000 in damage to the building. 


Legal cannabis just got 10% cheaper in the N.W.T.

The N.W.T. government has cut the price of legal cannabis products by 10 per cent, a move the finance minister says is part of an effort to curb sales on the illicit market.

In a news release announcing the decision Tuesday, the territorial government said it's "confident it can reduce the price while maintaining a safe and secure retail regime." 

"The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to eliminating the illegal sale of cannabis by providing residents with legal access to safe and secure products. Today's announcement is one of many steps that need to be taken to accomplish this goal," Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said in a statement. 


Where to buy weed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Approximately 4,000 times these past two weeks, I’ve thanked my lucky stars cannabis was legalized before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and sent us all cowering in our bong dens.


N.W.T.'s online cannabis store lost $136K last year

The Northwest Territories's online cannabis store has seen only 604 users since legalization and lost $136,000 last fiscal year. It's on track to lose the same amount or more in 2019-2020.

That's despite a 44 per cent markup on all products sold in the online store — a profit margin which guarantees its prices are not competitive with black market vendors.

Since legalization, $3.9 million worth of legal cannabis has been sold in the territory. But just $57,664 of that — less than 1.5 per cent — was purchased online.

"The online store was established to ensure that NWT residents in all communities have access to safe and legal cannabis," Todd Sasaki, a spokesperson for the territory's Department of Finance, wrote in an email.


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