The downtown core – not a cannabis store – is the real issue here

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When it comes to having a cannabis retail store here in Inuvik, the concern that I’ve heard from several community members revolves around the potential of a weed business setting up shop in the downtown core, due to its close proximity to the East Three Schools.

Residents don’t want their kids to have any exposure to cannabis. They don’t want the youth to see, smell or hear anything cannabis-related, which totally makes sense. 

But what doesn’t make sense is how a cannabis retail store is being treated as the worst thing that could happen to the downtown core.

Inuvik’s downtown area is crawling with a number of issues. Vacant buildings attract loitering crowds. Homelessness runs rampant in the area. Intoxicated individuals roam the streets and hurl obscenities left, right and centre. Fights are constantly being broken up.

It isn’t a pretty picture. But in this toxic environment, which kids are exposed to on a daily basis, the concern of late isn’t about protecting the youth from the line of sight of drunks or poverty. Instead, the main topic of discussion is shielding them from the presence of a non-existent cannabis retail store.

Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.
Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.

A weed store in the area is not the primary issue. The underlying problem is the downtown area itself. I agree, the last thing that this part of town needs is a cannabis shop. But it’s not because of the product or the business’s operations. It’s due to the fact that the area itself isn’t an appropriate location of business.

A frequent point that is constantly being brought up is how the liquor store is located outside of the downtown core. But this still doesn’t protect the youth from the exposure of drunks and alcohol. They see it on all corners of the downtown region. If this is the case, what difference does it make where the cannabis retail store is located?

I do agree that having a cannabis retail store in the downtown core can have negative implications on the youth. However, there’s all this talk about how a pot shop in the area will have negative impacts on the youth, but there is little to no discussions about the negative effects that the area already has on the youth.

This part of town has a lot of problems that doesn’t seem to garner enough discussion. There are issues here that are not being properly addressed.

People are quick to come up with solutions to problems that don’t even exist, instead of actually generating answers to the problems that plague the community on a daily basis.