A new cannabis production facility in Yellowknife could create 10 to 12 full-time jobs and up to a further 25 part-time jobs, the prospective developer said on Monday.
Addressing city councillors, Jordan Harker said his proposal would mean new jobs and create a facility that could be “competitive” on price for cannabis products.
Harker also hopes to establish a research area allowing for experimentation with cannabis plant genetics and breeding, plus development of edibles and oils.
The facility, proposed for Yellowknife’s Engle business district, requires council approval as cannabis production is not specifically permitted in the area by city bylaws, though similar uses – like greenhouses and laboratories – are allowed.
Councillors appeared uniformly in favour of the proposal on Monday, asking only a few questions of Harker before agreeing to fast-track the approvals process.
“This is really encouraging to council,” said Councillor Niels Konge, urging that an approval vote be held on Monday night.
“We have something that is brand-new legal in Canada, we have a territory where we don’t produce a lot of things, and somebody wants to produce something that will actually be sold in the territory. That’s a rarity, up here. That should be applauded, I think,” said Konge.
Councillors duly agreed to hold an approval vote at their next full meeting, scheduled for Monday evening. The proposal appears set to pass that vote with ease, allowing administration to get on with the permitting process.
After that, Harker’s plan will require federal and territorial licensing before production can begin. Harker was not able to stay for comment following his appearance before councillors at Monday lunchtime.
“You’re looking at 10 to 12 full-time jobs with 15 to 25 part-time jobs,” he earlier told councillors. “It’s our goal to be competitive on price, absolutely.”
Councillor Steve Payne, who called the plan “a positive thing for the city,” sounded a note of caution as he recalled the year-long delay experienced by the NWT Brewing Company, several years ago, when its brewpub became caught in territorial red tape.
“You look at the brewpub and the hoops they had to jump through. I’m hoping [the GNWT and its licensing authority] will be on board with this,” said Payne.
Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the City administrator, said: “We want to be as supportive as possible, and we are hoping the GNWT can be as nimble as we are in proceeding to look at this.”
Councillor Shauna Morgan supported the proposal, saying: “This goes along with our vision for economic diversification.”