Yukon’s first cannabis store to close on anniversary of legalization

Published on October 15, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
whitehorse yukon streetview

From the beginning, cannabis has been a hit in Yukon. On legalization day last October, 1,000 people lined up for the one government-run Cannabis Yukon store in Whitehorse—in a territory with an entire population around 35,000.

Private cannabis retail arrived in Yukon this spring, when Jordi Mikeli-Jones and Jeremy Jones opened Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse in April. In August, Dawson City Cannabis became the third physical retailer in the territory.

Unlike other provinces and territories, however, Yukon’s cannabis retail plan was designed to operate in stages.

Though the territory began legalization by operating a government store in Whitehorse, the Yukon Liberal government planned from the beginning only to run that physical store for one year until the private sector was functional, and to exit physical retail by the end of 2019.

Accordingly, at 7 p.m. this October 17, the Cannabis Yukon store—in front of which 1,000 people lined up a year before—will close.

Cannabis Yukon alone has sold $4-million worth of products since opening last October, and the territorial Crown corporation will continue to exist—but only on the web. Yukoners will still be able to buy cannabis online from Cannabis Yukon, but those who wish to buy in person will do so from the private sector.

Two additional cannabis-retail licenses have been approved for Whitehorse, while two more are in the application stage.

Outside the capital, one license has been approved for Carmacks, while an application is being processed for a store in Watson Lake.

As for the Cannabis Yukon store in Whitehorse, its story might not be over yet. Anyone able to make a reserve bid of $87,000 may join the public tender process to buy the whole operation as a turnkey retail location.

The Yukon Liquor Corporation, which oversees cannabis in the territory, will review the bids and decide whether to ultimately sell the store as is, or to liquify the assets and sell them separately.

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Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
View Jesse B. Staniforth's articles
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