The Government of Canada has introduced the proposed Cannabis Act and has made a public commitment to legalize cannabis by July 2018. The proposed Act would set the national framework for cannabis legalization while giving provinces and territories the authority to establish measures to control sale and distribution, minimum age for purchase and consumption, drug-impaired driving, workplace safety, public smoking of cannabis and more.
The GNWT is committed to having effective measures in place to protect the health and safety of our people and communities and wants to hear from Northerners on the best ways to do it.
The GNWT is committed to having effective measures in place to protect the health and safety of our people and communities. A series of consultations held from July 11 – September 22, 2017 gathered feedback to inform decisions and was presented in the “What We Heard” report. This input was used to develop the GNWT’s proposed approach to legalization along with other important factors including inter-jurisdictional considerations, coordination with enforcement partners, practical and financial implications for implementation and current research on the health impacts of cannabis.
On November 24, 2017 The Cannabis Legalization in the Northwest Territories: The Way Forward report was released. This outlines the proposed approach on matters where the GNWT has responsibility including; minimum age, possession limits, public smoking, sale and distribution of recreational cannabis, impaired driving, workplace safety and public education.
The next steps involve the creation of the legislation that must be put into place before the July 2018 deadline. This legislation will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly and will follow the normal process including discussion and debate by Members of the Legislative Assembly, and is expected in the February/March session. Additionally, GNWT departments have been working to ensure that policies and programs necessary to support this legalization are developed to be ready for the July 2018 deadline.
The GNWT will be working collaboratively with the federal government to provide information to the public on the new laws and to promote education and harm reduction.