Second cannabis store opens in Nunavut

| David Brown

A second cannabis store opened in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in April, to help serve the Territory’s population of just over 40,000 people.

The store, Higher Experience, is located about a 15-minute walk from Iqaluit’s first cannabis store, Nuna Cannabis, which opened in 2021. The territory began accepting applications for private retailers in 2020. The population of Iqaluit, the territory’s capital, is about 7,000.

Prior to this, the only way for Nunavummiut to buy cannabis was from two businesses under a licence category the territory calls Registered Suppliers. Residents can still order online or by phone from Canopy/Tweed or AgMedica/Vertical Cannabis.

In the most recent annual report from the province for 2020-2021, revenues from online cannabis sales through the NULC’s partners accounted for less than a tenth of a percent of total revenues the Commission earned in the year.

Higher Experience’s application had been in the works for several years. Kevin Ikeno, one of the owners at the store, said it was a long process, but he’s excited to now be open. 

“We’re phenomenally excited to finally get [a licence],” Ikeno tells StratCann. “It has been a long time coming, but we’re very happy to now be open for business. The community has been fantastically welcoming. They’ve been very friendly.”

Unlike most provinces, Nunavut has no central delivery, so the Territory’s two stores must arrange for orders from each of the approximately 40 registered wholesale suppliers

The territory allows two other licence types in addition to its registered suppliers: physical cannabis stores and what it’s calling remote sales. These two licence categories can also be combined.

There are also two subclasses of physical stores: enclosed cannabis stores and integrated cannabis stores.

Enclosed cannabis stores can be either stand-alone buildings or located within an existing commercial space such as a multi-unit building. Higher Experience is located at 760 Queen Elizabeth Way in Iqaluit, the Territory’s capital. 

The age of access in Nunavut is 19.