In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the proposed Cannabis Act and has made a public commitment to legalize cannabis by summer 2018. This date has now shifted to be later in the summer of 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. 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.
On February 28, 2018, the GNWT introduced the proposed Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act. The proposed legislation will shortly be referred for review by Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly. It will not be final until it has been debated and passed by the Assembly.
During this time, the GNWT will continue to develop the policies and programs – and make the operational arrangements – necessary to prepare for the legalization of cannabis in the Northwest Territories. It will also roll out public awareness and education campaigns related to the health impacts of cannabis use and the risks of impaired driving in the coming weeks.