Yukon cannabis retailer ‘frustrated’ over delay in new online sales regulations


A private cannabis retailer in the Yukon says it will take months to resume selling its products online, even though the territory has just taken a further step towards legalization.

The Government of Yukon passed amendments to the Cannabis Control and Regulation Act as one of its final fall session measures, to allow private retailers to open e-commerce and delivery services. . The changes will come into effect after the regulations are put in place.

In May 2020, the Government of Yukon put in place a temporary measure under the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) to allow private cannabis retailers to set up virtual purchases to reduce the risk of ” going to physical stores in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeremy Jones, co-owner of Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse, said their store invested “thousands of dollars” to make e-commerce possible, just to get the law repealed last September. So now they can only offer online orders for in-store pickup.

Triple J’s Canna Space in downtown Whitehorse. (Philippe Morin / CBC)

“It is difficult to explain the frustration we have, that [the amendments] could have happened much faster, ”Jones told CBC. “I mean, it wasn’t a huge amount of work in my opinion.

A year later, Triple J’s still has to wait for regulations to be put in place by the territorial government before giving e-commerce another chance – a blow to Jones’ small business.

“We have no idea what it’s going to look like, what if it doesn’t even work properly?” ” he said.

About 30% of Triple J’s total revenue came from online sales in that small window where they could operate, Jones said. It wouldn’t take much for them to get back online, just flip a switch.

“It’s actually quite fast”

John Streicker worked on the legalization file in 2018 as the former minister in charge of the Yukon Liquor Corporation.

At first, he said there was apprehension in introducing online shopping as it would make it more difficult to dismantle the illicit market.

“You have to be careful that the online sales you allow don’t themselves become part of the illegal black market,” Streicker explained.

John Streicker, former minister of the Yukon Liquor Commission, said the fall session was the first opportunity for them to make changes to the Cannabis Act to legalize e-commerce and delivery services for private retailers. (Chris Windeyer / CBC)

Once legal cannabis sales passed the black market, the Yukon government decided to introduce online shopping through its retailer, Cannabis Yukon. Their sales were only $ 12,000 of the more than $ 6 million in cannabis products sold in 2021, according to their most recent. Annual Report.

Private retailers started asking for e-commerce options in 2020, Streicker said, so that’s when the Yukon government began consultations.

He said the last fall sitting was the “next opportunity” to pass the amendments, as the territorial elections shortened the 2021 spring sitting.

“I think it’s fair that private retailers would have liked it to happen sooner, but it’s actually pretty quick,” Streicker said.

Jones said the government told them the changes were coming, but did not speak to what e-commerce would look like in practice.

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