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GNWT eyes online sales to increase cannabis revenue

The GNWT is gauging interest in setting up an online cannabis store to increase cannabis sales.
The GNWT is assessing interest among potential vendors in setting up a new online cannabis shop as sales through the NWT Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s online store have been low compared to retail shops in five communities. Black Press file photo

The GNWT is gauging interest in setting up an online cannabis store to increase cannabis sales.

In a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) posted on the GNWT’s open contracts site on July 19, the Department of Finance noted that cannabis sales are low on its existing sales portal operated by the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC).

Quarterly sales reports going back to March of 2019 show NTLCC revenues at its shops have been the lowest from the online store.

The latest report, for the period of Jan. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 shows online cannabis sales ranged from $3,676.45 to $5,581.27 for the last four quarters — numbers dwarfed by sales from the five other retail locations that range from $74,186.11 to $714,702.78. There are two cannabis shops in Yellowknife while Norman Wells, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Hay River have one each.

“Sales on this website are minimal and the GNWT, through the NTLCC, would like to increase its sales volumes through an online presence,” the document states.

Ideas for an online outlet include: a vendor operating a platform to sell and distribute cannabis products to NWT communities on behalf of the NTLCC and providing a warehouse facility for shipping, receiving and the storing of cannabis products.

The vendor could also operate a platform to manage orders and payments directly to the NTLCC for shipping cannabis products to NWT communities through an NTLCC warehouse. The vendor could also be an existing private retailer that would sell cannabis online through a point-of-sale system.

The vendor’s shop would be subject to limiting online access and sales to individuals aged 19 and older, incorporating restrictions on sending to certain postal codes in the territory and limiting shipped sales to the equivalent of 30 grams of dried cannabis per transaction. All cannabis products would have to be exclusively purchased wholesale from the NTLCC.

The vendor would,however, be able to source non-cannabis retail items such as accessories, apparel, food and beverages.

The NTLCC would provide a link to the vendor’s site through its own portal.

The deadline to submit expressions of interest is Aug. 18.