Article by CBC News
Chris Cornborough has a lot to celebrate this 4/20 — his company, ArcticPharm, recently became the first in the North to get a licence to cultivate and process cannabis.
The plan is to start growing pot on the company’s 116-acre farm north of Whitehorse this year, and eventually sell product in retail stores across the North.
“The [licensing] process itself has taken us two and a half years to work through. It’s very labourious, very bureaucratic,” he said.
“I guess you could equate it to getting your driver’s licence — for a company, I mean — now we can do what we set out to do.”
A federal licence issued by Health Canada is required to cultivate and process cannabis for medical and non-medical use. ArcticPharm’s was granted on Friday.
Cornborough says his company will be one of only a handful of licensed producers of certified-organic cannabis in all of Canada.
Right now, Yukon’s legal weed retailers can only sell what is available through the Yukon Liquor Corporation, which serves as the territory’s sole wholesaler. Cornborough believes Yukon tends to get “the last pick of the product,” compared with larger markets elsewhere.
“The reality is that I think the product quality, according to most folks we talk to, isn’t as good as what you get down in, say, B.C., for example,” he said.
“We’re hoping we can supply the North, the Yukon and the other territories, with a locally-grown, quality product…. And from there, we’ll be able to kind of fill the gap and hopefully put a little bit of a dent in the black market in the North.”
But that won’t happen right away. Cornborough says there are still some hoops to jump through with Health Canada before any ArcticPharm product goes to market. He’s hoping that happens by next spring.
The company also already has its own retail licence in Yukon, granted more than a year ago, for a site in downtown Whitehorse. Cornborough describes that licence as “a placeholder, for now.”
He’s also hoping ArcticPharm can get into the health and wellness industry as a wholesaler.