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Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store will stay open permanently, says finance minister

The Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store can now stay open on a permanent basis, says finance minister. The store, managed by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, was originally opened in 2017 as a three-year pilot project.

The goal was to reduce hard alcohol consumption, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging

The Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store can now stay open on a permanent basis, says finance minister. The store, managed by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, was originally opened in 2017 as a three-year pilot project. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

The Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store can now stay open on a permanent basis, says the Nunavut finance minister.

The store, managed by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, was originally opened in 2017 as a three-year pilot project.

Its goal was to reduce hard alcohol consumption, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging, said George Hickes, minister of finance, in written statement.

The decision to keep the store open permanently was announced Monday in a news release.

"The decision to keep the store open permanently allows us to continue moving toward long-term harm reduction," Hickes said.

The commission completed two surveys — one in 2018 and one in 2020.

The most recent survey showed that 75 per cent of respondents are in support of keeping the store open.

Almost 40 per cent of respondents reported they binge-drink less often whereas 15 per cent said they binge-drink more.

There is also a notable reduction in the number of people (approximately 67 per cent fewer) who purchase alcohol from bootleggers since the store opened, the news release states. Most respondents, 80 per cent, spend the same amount of money or less money on alcohol than they did before the store opened.

More details on the results of the Iqaluit NULC Store Pilot Project Evaluation Report are available on the government website.

Cannabis store being proposed for Iqaluit

The government is also looking for community consultation for a proposed cannabis store in Iqaluit.

The office of the superintendent of licensing received an application to open an enclosed cannabis store — meaning not accessible to minors — in Iqaluit from Nuna Cannabis Store Inc., according to a government news release Monday.

Enclosed cannabis stores can use sensory display items — like smell jars — and discuss product information with customers.

Under the Nunavut Cannabis Act, the government must consult the community when an application is received.

Iqalummiut can send their comments, concerns and views about a cannabis store opening in Iqaluit to cannabis@gov.nu.ca or call 867-975-5875.

The deadline to submit feedback is August 20, 2020 at 5 p.m. More information about the cannabis retail licensing in Nunavut can be visited on the territory's website.

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