Northwest Territories get their first two stand-alone cannabis retailers

The Northwest Territories have announced their first two private cannabis retailers will be opening soon. ReLeaf NT and Trailblazers Cannabis Shop will both be opening private retail cannabis stores in Yellowknife. 

ReLeaf NT will operate at 5123 51st Street where it had been previously selling cannabis accessories and Trailblazers Cannabis Shop will operate in a new location at 100 Borden Drive. ReLeaf NT had applied for a licence through the territory’s public procurement process, while Trailblazers had previously been operating inside the Yellowknife Liquor Shop. 

The GNWT and the Yellowknife Liquor Shop agreed to separate liquor sales and cannabis sales. Cannabis will no longer be available for purchase at the Yellowknife Liquor Shop.

ReLeaf is not yet selling cannabis, although Trailblazers is, according to local media reports.

ReLeaf NT had begun the application process in December 2019. Requests have also been issued for private cannabis retailers in Hay River, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, Inuvik, and Fort Simpson.

When the Northwest Territories originally announced their plan for retail cannabis in 2018, the territorial government had opted to allow the sale of cannabis through a handful of liquor stores, as well as online while a distribution and private retail framework was developed. 

Like alcohol, the legal minimum age to buy, possess and use cannabis is in NWT is 19.

“Since its legalization in 2018, the Government of the Northwest Territories has envisioned private retailers playing a role in the safe and legal sale of cannabis in the NWT,” said Caroline Wawzonek, NWT’s Minister of Finance. “Today, the GNWT welcomes ReLeaf NT and Trailblazers Cannabis Shop as private retailers of cannabis.”

The sale of cannabis in the Northwest Territories (NWT) is controlled through the Northwest Territories’ Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC) and private retailers designated by the Minister of Finance, will be granted a license to sell the product. 

“We are enthusiastic about officially opening and moving into the new location for Trailblazers Cannabis Shop in Stanton Plaza,” says Edward Eggenberger, Trailblazers Cannabis Shop. “Having a standalone store with more space is something we have been working toward for the last two years.  We are looking forward to serving the public at the new location next door to the Liquor Shop.”

Cannabis stores will be able to offer mail-order delivery of cannabis to residents in the same way that liquor stores offer mail-order liquor delivery.

“We’re excited to officially announce ReLeaf NT as a designated cannabis retailer,” says Luke Wood, ReLeaf NT. “We’ve spent the last eighteen months working through the rigorous qualification and proposal process.  We’re now putting the finishing touches on our new full-service, cutting edge downtown location. We are looking forward to our new partnership with the NTLCC and serving Yellowknifers.”

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