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A cannabis grow-op could be coming to Yellowknife

Some city councillors expressed their support on Monday for a proposed cannabis production facility in the Engle Business District.

'Any local-made product, I'm all over, and I guess I'll be all over this too,' says Coun. Steve Payne

Jordan Harker pitched his proposal for a cannabis growing facility in Yellowknife to city council on Monday. (Steve Silva/CBC)

A proposed cannabis grow-op in Yellowknife got a warm reception from city councillors on Monday.

"You have somebody who wants to actually produce something that will be sold in the territory, that's a rarity up here. This should be applauded," Coun. Niels Konge said.

The warehouse facility would be located in the Engle Business District at 92 Falcon Road, west of the Yellowknife Airport.

Jordan Harker, the man behind the pitch, said the business is not affiliated with growers in southern Canada.

"We're looking at about 10 to 12 full-time jobs with probably 15 to 25 part-time jobs," he told city council during a committee meeting on Monday.

"It's our goal to be competitive with pricing."

The plants would be sold to the territorial government, not directly to consumers.

This photo is from Canopy Growth's Aldergrove facility in British Columbia. Some Yellowknife city councillors expressed support on Monday for a cannabis grow-op in the city's Engle Business District. (Canopy Growth)

Harker said the facility's research and development component would look at genetics, propagation, edibles and oils.

Harker said he was not available for an interview after Monday's meeting.

Todd Sasaki, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance, said in an email that cannabis production facilities are allowed in the territory, but the federal government would handle licensing.

"The [Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission] currently has an adequate inventory of certain cannabis products including flower, oil and capsules, however, the availability of some high-customer demand products such as pre-rolls and Sativa/Sativa Hybrid strains remains very limited," he said.

"It is expected that with the introduction of edibles in 2019, as well as some provinces adding additional retail locations, product shortages will continue for the foreseeable future."

You have somebody who wants to actually produce something that will be sold in the territory, that's a rarity up here. - Coun. Niels Konge

The city received a permit application for a cannabis growing facility last month.

A municipal staff memorandum to city council said a cannabis production facility is not explicitly permitted in the text of the zoning bylaw, but it fits in with what the area is intended for, and council is recommended to allow it.

Of the councillors present, they voted unanimously on Monday evening to allow a grow-op in the Engle Business District.

The city sent letters to property owners and lessees in the area last month about the proposal for a cannabis growing warehouse in the Engle Business District, and no one submitted complaints about it.

Councillors Steve Payne, Shauna Morgan and Cynthia Mufandaedza also supported the idea.

"Any local-made product, I'm all over, and I guess I'll be all over this too," Coun. Payne said with a laugh.

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