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Yukon Plans To Open At Least One Cannabis Store By Next July, Eyes Online Sales

The Yukon government hopes to have at least one cannabis store open for business by the federal government’s legalization deadline of July 1, 2018.

Yukoners who live out of reach of that store will likely have to order their cannabis online.

The Yukon government unveiled these details of its proposed cannabis framework – and more – last week.

Key to the proposal is the fact that the Yukon government will control the import and distribution of legal cannabis in the territory.  The legal age for purchasing and using cannabis within the territory will be 19.

When it comes to carrying or cultivating cannabis, Yukon officials are sticking to the federal government’s recommendations of capping the possession limit at 30 grams and limiting the number of plants residents can grow to four.

While Justice Minister Tracey-Anne McPhee said the territorial government would manage the import, warehousing and transport of cannabis, there could be a mixture of government and private retail stores to distribute it.

McPhee said the government is looking to have at least retail store open in Yukon by July 1, 2018, when recreational cannabis legalization will roll out across the country; that, or the government will launch an online platform for selling cannabis.  

"Our proposed approach acknowledges the need for additional time to develop regulations, including a licensing system for private retail that will reflect Yukon's interests and values," McPhee said.

"It's important to recognize that the proposed framework represents a starting point. The system is designed to be able to adapt as we learn more about the best approach for the Yukon territory."

A government statement said Yukon is taking a “cautious” approach to legalization. Its laws will "prioritize public health, safety and harm reduction, with a focus on protecting youth from negative health effects."

Yukon has the highest rate of cannabis use in Canada, and its young people are more likely to have used cannabis in the last month than other Canadian students, according to Health Minister Pauline Frost.

"These same students tell us that Yukon youth do not perceive cannabis as risky. Clearly, we have a lot of work ahead of us to change these perceptions," Frost said.

The government’s proposed regulations are open for public comment until Dec. 20 – and Yukoners will likely have a lot to say.

A recent study – which found that 81 percent of Yukoners support recreational legalization – was the territory’s most successful cannabis survey ever, with 3,172 people responding to at least some of the questions.

h/t CBC News


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