Iqaluit city council calls for cannabis retail store

“I think it would be good to make a recommendation to the Government of Nunavut to make a move on opening a store here”

Iqaluit’s city council decided on Tuesday, Jan. 14, to send a letter to Health Minister George Hickes to ask for a cannabis retail store for Nunavut’s capital. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

Iqaluit city council is calling on the Government of Nunavut to open a cannabis retail store in Nunavut’s capital.

“I think it’s about time that the city of Iqaluit gets a cannabis store,” said Mayor Kenny Bell during council’s first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

“I think it would be good to make a recommendation to the Government of Nunavut to make a move on opening a store here.”

Currently, Nunavut residents are only able to order legal cannabis products online, from retailers outside of the territory.

Nunavut’s Cannabis Act allows private retailers to sell marijuana in the territory, but the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission has adopted a take-it-slow approach and hasn’t yet approved any physical stores.

For Bell, who previously worked at the liquor and cannabis commission, the desire for a cannabis store comes down to accessibility and safety.

Currently, “if you don’t have a credit card and you can’t get online and order it, it’s just not happening,” Bell told Nunatsiaq News.

The lack of access to retail stores means that many consumers still seek cannabis from the black market.

“We’re really worried about citizen safety, going to a drug dealer’s house, for example, or to outside Northmart and outside Ventures. Having the store would change that.”

Bell also acknowledged that a retail store would also mean that the cannabis itself would be safer.

“Illegal sales is a shady business, always has been, always will be. We don’t know what’s in the drug. We don’t know where it came from. It could be laced, it could be anything.”

City councillors decided to set aside the question of whether such a store should be government-run or privately owned when they agreed to make their recommendation to the territorial government.

“It’s not going to happen tomorrow—we know that—but we just wanted to be on the radar that we would like it to happen,” said Bell, who also acknowledged that it will be important for the city to decide on who runs the would-be store.

The motion was passed unanimously.

According to Bell, the letter to Health Minister George Hickes, who is also responsible for the liquor and cannabis commission, will be sent some time before the end of the week.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Would like to open a cannabis store. on

    When/How can individuals that are interested in opening a cannabis store in Nunavut?

  2. Posted by Lea on

    Our addictions well supported by the government but not our mental health.

  3. Posted by Geta Etorolopiaq on

    Alcohol becomes violence, Cannabis soothes violence

    • Posted by It doesn’t on

      Cannabis also causes extreme violence, especially from withdrawals, – it also causes violent fights about money or family and elder abuse – cannabis now comes in many forms; cloned, high THC, laced with codeine/crack and butane-gas-made shatter has caused full-blown special police force lock-downs where someone’s been shot and killed – cannabis also causes life-long schizoaffective disorders, where it also causes extreme violence

      • Posted by Red Bear on

        That is an impressive amount of misinformation for one post.
        — “Cannabis causes extreme violence from withdrawals”: Cannabis can be habit forming, but does not create a chemical dependency like tobacco and alcohol. Therefore, it does not have “withdrawal” symptoms in the medical sense of the word, but can be difficult to quit for people who become used to consuming it on a regular basis. Anyone who becomes extremely violent when they stop consuming it has anger issues unrelated to cannabis.
        — “Cannabis comes laced with codeine/crack”: Legal cannabis, purchased from licensed dealers regulated by Health Canada and the NLC, are not laced with anything. Maybe the garbage weed you get behind Northmart is cut with other substances, but that’s precisely what this initiative is trying to prevent. Also, what dealer would secretly lace a high value drug like crack/opiates with a low value one like cannabis? The only way that makes any business sense is if they are trying to get people addicted to their low value product, which would mean that cannabis is not addictive on its own without crack/opiates laced into it.
        — “Cannabis causes life-long schizoaffective disorders, which causes extreme violence”: There is no proof of this. Even Health Canada’s health warnings included in legally purchased cannabis in Nunavut don’t go this far, saying that it ‘may’ increase the ‘risk’ of schizophrenia in youth/teenagers, who aren’t legally permitted to purchase cannabis in the first place – another thing a store would go towards preventing.
        This type of fear-mongering is the reason why prohibition lasted so long in the first place, and why it failed miserably and gave birth to the dangerous black market.

        • Posted by Bartenderdave on

          Well said.

  4. Posted by Finally on

    Finally, some one made a practical advice, based on sound reasons to opening a retail store. It’s a ten million dollar market here in Iqaluit, so I’ve been told. However, the only other thing I would suggest that it be a co-operative where Iqalummiut authorized dealers would profit from dividends, or to the City of Iqaluit to build its own City Hall., so that city employees don’t have to work in a dilapidated building, Just a thought.

  5. Posted by Name withheld on

    I’ve seen the downside of having a B&W store and what effect it has done And it’s not good at all, what is the Mayor of Iqaluit thinking? Is that why he was elected? What is the purpose of having city council? Does this decision reflect in having a healthy environment? Yes it’s great to get those dealers out of business but come on haven’t you seen the downside of the B&W store and the crimes involved? Iqaluit is becoming unsafe and will only get worst

  6. Posted by Market Size? on

    I support the idea in general, but wonder if the market in Iqaluit is large enough to support an outlet?

    • Posted by francisco perez on

      hi what’s the population of Iqaluit and how many of then will they be able to purchase legally ?

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