YELLOWKNIFE (NOVEMBER 24, 2017) – Minister of Justice Louis Sebert released the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) proposed plan for legalizing cannabis in the NWT today. This is an important step in designing a system that will provide controlled access to a safe supply of recreational cannabis for NWT residents in order to maintain the health and safety of residents and communities across the North.
The Cannabis Legalization in the Northwest Territories: The Way Forward report provides an overview of the GNWT’s proposed approach on the matters for which the GNWT is responsible, including: minimum age, possession limits, public smoking, the sale and distribution of recreational cannabis, impaired driving, workplace safety and public education. The Way Forward report takes into account input received through the cannabis public engagement process, as well as other important factors, including inter-jurisdictional considerations, coordination with enforcement partners, practical and financial implications for implementation in the required timeframe and current research on the health impacts of cannabis.
The GNWT plans to introduce legislation for the consideration of the 18th Legislative Assembly in the February/March sitting, in order to meet the federal deadline of July 2018. The GNWT looks forward to working with Standing Committees to ensure the necessary legislation is developed and reviewed according to normal processes prior to the federally-imposed deadline.
The GNWT will continue work to develop the policies and programs necessary to address the legalization of cannabis in the Northwest Territories.
“Our government is working to make sure the NWT is ready with a framework for regulating recreational cannabis when the Government of Canada makes it legal in July 2018. We know this issue matters to Northerners and that is why we have made public engagement a priority and will continue to keep residents informed throughout this process as we work with the Members of the Legislative Assembly to ensure we have the appropriate laws, guidelines, policies and programs in place to achieve an orderly management of legal cannabis by July 2018.
-Louis Sebert, Minister of Justice
- The proposed minimum age for the possession and consumption of cannabis for NWT residents is 19 years.
- Adults 19 and older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in a public place. Adults will also be allowed to grow up to 4 plants per household for personal use.
- Adults 19 and older will be allowed to smoke cannabis in their homes. Public smoking of cannabis will be prohibited in certain areas in order to protect others from second-hand smoke exposure.
- The NWT Liquor Commission will be responsible for the importation and sale of cannabis in the NWT. Initially, NWT residents will only be able to purchase cannabis through liquor stores or by a mail order service run by the NWT Liquor Commission.
- NWT communities will have the option to hold a plebiscite to prohibit cannabis, similar to the options currently available to restrict alcohol.
- The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) will be responsible for reviewing occupational health and safety regulations and consulting with employers, labour groups and workers to ensure that any changes or additions adequately address impairment issues.
- The GNWT will set up new sanctions for drug-impaired driving.
Relevant Links :
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications and Protocol
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: 867-767-9140 Ext. 11092