Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories Cannabis Framework and legislation

Cannabis

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.

Latest news on marijuana legalization in Canada

  Northwest Territories Cannabis 

Legislation Across Canada

Legislation Across Canada

While legalization is a federal decision, provinces, territories and municipalities have areas of responsibility.

Legislation Across Canada

Legislation Across Canada

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis under Bills C-45 Cannabis Act and C-46 An Act to amend the Criminal Code. This legislation is expected to come into effect by July 2018.

While legalization is a federal decision, provinces and territories have been given areas of responsibility. Below you will find a list of the required activities and who is responsible.

Note: in some cases you’ll see that even though the federal government is assigned responsibility, provinces and territories will have the ability to strengthen legislation for these areas under federal jurisdiction.

Federal Responsibility Only:

  • Trafficking
  • Medical cannabis
  • Seed-to-sale tracking system
  • Production (cultivation and processing)

Federal Responsibility – with the ability for provinces and territories to strengthen legislation

  • Possession limits
  • Advertisement and packaging
  • Age limit
  • Home cultivation (growing plants at home)

Provincial/Territorial Responsibility Only:

  • Workplace safety
  • Distribution and wholesaling
  • Retail model
  • Retail location and rules
  • Public consumption
  • Land use/zoning

Federal and Provincial/Territorial Combined Responsibility:

  • Impaired driving
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Taxation
  • Regulatory compliance

Cannabis and the NWT

Cannabis and the NWT

Learn basic information about cannabis, its potential health effects, and how this relates to the NWT.

Cannabis and the NWT

Cannabis and the NWT

Protecting the health and safety of Northerners, while complying with any national cannabis laws and requirements set by the federal government, is a priority for the GNWT. In keeping with that priority, we are proposing the following principles to guide our work.

Our approach to legalization of cannabis should:

  • restrict youth access to cannabis, and protect young people from promotion or enticements to use cannabis;
  • allow adults to possess and access regulated, quality controlled legal cannabis;
  • discourage drug-impaired driving;
  • protect workers and the public from drug-impairment in the workplace;
  • protect public health by controlling the public smoking of cannabis;
  • enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis;
  • provide a safe and secure retail regime for the adult purchase of cannabis; and
  • provide for local options to establish cannabis distribution and consumption restrictions and prohibitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some commonly asked questions about cannabis legalization in the NWT and Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The GNWT is committed to having effective measures in place to protect the health and safety of NWT residents and communities. We know there will be plenty of questions as we move through the process so have done our best to display some of the most frequently asked questions below. If you wish to download a copy of our full FAQ document, please visit our documents page.

Federal Legislation

Federal Legislation

Below are a few FAQs regarding the proposed Federal legislation for Cannabis in Canada. To learn more about the current status of cannabis laws in Canada visit the Government of Canada’s Legalization and Regulations of Cannabis webpage.

Why is the Government of Canada legalizing and regulating access to cannabis?

The Government of Canada made a commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. The Government of Canada has stated that:

  • The current system of cannabis prohibition does not work; it does not prevent persons under the age of 18 from using cannabis, and too many Canadians are ending up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.
  • Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system, and traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses.
  • Proceeds from the illegal drug market support organized crime and increase threats to public safety.

Through its new proposed legislation, the Cannabis Act, the Government of Canada aims to remove cannabis use and incidental possession from the Criminal Code and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide cannabis to minors, those who drive impaired, and those who sell it outside the new proposed regulatory framework.

When did the Government of Canada introduce its proposed legislation to legalize and regulate access to cannabis?

The federal Cannabis Act was introduced on April 13, 2017.

Does introduction of the proposed federal Cannabis Act mean that cannabis is legal now?

No. The federal Cannabis Act must receive royal assent and be brought into force by order in council. When the Cannabis Act comes into force cannabis will be legalized and Canadians will be able to access cannabis. Until then, cannabis remains illegal.

When will the federal Cannabis Act come into force?

The Government of Canada anticipates that the Cannabis Act will come into force in July 2018.

To protect public health, the Government of Canada is committed to having a safe legal supply of cannabis in time for the coming into force of the legislation.

What does the proposed federal Cannabis Act intend to do?

The proposed federal Cannabis Act would set the framework for legalizing, strictly regulating and restricting access to cannabis. The framework would set out requirements around production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in addition to imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework.

Cannabis in the NWT

Cannabis in the NWT

Below are some FAQs regarding Cannabis in the NWT.

1. What is the role and authority of the GNWT in the legalization of cannabis? What decisions does the territorial government control?

The proposed federal Cannabis Act will set the framework for legalizing, regulating and restricting access to recreational cannabis.
It will also deal with the licensing and oversight of a legal cannabis supply chain and set federal regulatory standards to protect public health and public safety.

Provinces and territories will have flexibility in how certain aspects are regulated and these are the matters that are dealt with in the proposed GNWT legislation. Federal legislation will set the national framework and many of the rules. The GNWT can only make rules in specific areas, including:

  • how cannabis is distributed and sold in the territory;
  • minimum age ;
  • public use;
  • drug-impaired driving; and
  • workplace impairment.

2. What has the GNWT done to ensure the views of residents are considered in how cannabis is legalized here?

Though we are facing very challenging federal deadlines, the GNWT has made public engagement on the legalization of cannabis a priority.

The GNWT conducted a cannabis public engagement from mid-July to late September, 2017. That process had three components: an online survey open to all residents; public meetings held in all seven regional centres and two representative smaller communities; and 120 letters sent to community and Indigenous governments inviting them to respond to the survey questions or to raise other topics related to cannabis legalization.

Residents will now have the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the legislation through the normal process of review and debate in the Legislative Assembly.

3. Will the GNWT be ready for the legalization of cannabis in Summer 2018?

The proposed federal Cannabis Act is now expected to come into effect late in the summer of 2018, and the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to meeting this deadline.

The proposed Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act has now been introduced. GNWT departments with responsibilities relating to cannabis are also working to ensure that programs, policies and regulations are developed and put into place ahead of the coming into force of the federal legislation.

4. What will the GNWT do to protect the health and safety of residents?

The GNWT intends to do all that it can within the parameters set by the federal government to provide residents with access to safe cannabis that meets quality, security and health standards set by the Government of Canada. We will also ensure that residents have access to the information they need to understand the risks associated with recreational cannabis use in order to make informed choices.

The GNWT is developing a cannabis public education campaign specific to the NWT population that provides:

  • scientific and evidence based information on the health and safety risks associated with cannabis and cannabis product consumption;
  • information on the risks of cannabis use by individuals under 25 (specifically, the impacts on the developing brain), pregnant and nursing women, and individuals struggling with mental health disorders;
  • information on the responsible use of cannabis and cannabis products; and
  • scientifically based information on medical cannabis use to help reduce stigma and discrimination against individuals with chronic and terminal illnesses who need this product to improve their quality of life.

5. When will all the details about the rules and policies be available?

It is important to note that federal legislation will set the national framework and many of the rules related to cannabis. It will be up to the Government of Canada to communicate federal rules and policies prior to the coming into force of the federal legislation and the GNWT will do what it can to ensure residents know where to find that information.

The GNWT has been communicating regularly about its proposed approach, however the proposed law will not be finalized until it has been debated and passed by the Legislative Assembly. The GNWT will then be able to clarify all the regulations and policies that come under the law.

As these details become available in the weeks/months leading up to implementation, the GNWT will be undertaking appropriate communication activities to make sure the public is informed.

6. Why has the GNWT decided to sell cannabis only out of liquor stores? Why are private businesses not allowed to sell it?

The GNWT objective with respect to distribution and sale of cannabis is to ensure that that people over the minimum age have the ability to purchase legally produced cannabis for private consumption without promoting its use. Despite legalization, cannabis is still a controlled substance. Its consumption creates obvious impairment, and its sale should be regulated in a way that is similar to other controlled substances, such as alcohol.

Given the extremely short time frame to legalization, the NWT Liquor Commission has to ensure that retail infrastructure is in place to accommodate the sale of cannabis in a regulated environment.

The GNWT recognizes that there is a strong interest in taking advantage of the business opportunities associated to the legalization of cannabis. There will be nothing in the legislation that prevents the future sale of cannabis in “cannabis only” stores.

Once there is actual data relating to sales and volumes, there may be the opportunity for retail locations outside of the liquor stores operated under contract with the NWT Liquor Commission.

7. Doesn’t selling cannabis and liquor in the same location go against the recommendation of the federal taskforce?

The federal task force investigating the possibility of legalizing cannabis recommended that liquor and cannabis sales not be in the same store wherever possible. They did recognize that it may not be possible in some remote and rural areas and recommended that where there is co-location, appropriate safeguards are put in place.

The GNWT takes its responsibility for safeguarding the health and safety of residents seriously. Some of the measures that will be put in place to discourage co-consumption of cannabis and alcohol and/or advising customers of the risks, will include, but not be limited to:

  • Requiring customers to request cannabis products directly from the cashier.
  • In-store signage advising customers of the risks of co-consumption.
  • Federally-designed packaging that will likely include warnings, such as advice against co-consumption.
  • Payment must be rendered before cannabis is shipped.
  • Each order is packaged and sent individually to the purchaser by common carrier at the address provided on the identification provided by the purchaser.
  • The purchaser must sign for that received shipment.

8. What about communities that don’t have liquor stores? Won’t there be a risk of bootlegging?

Under the proposed cannabis distribution system, consumers in communities without a liquor store would purchase product from a liquor store within the NWT. The product would then be shipped directly to the consumer. Shipping of cannabis to consumers in communities without liquor stores would follow the current mail order system used by the Liquor Commission for alcohol.This distribution system has controls in place to protect against bootlegging and access by minors, including:

  • Purchaser must be a resident of the Northwest Territories who is, 19 or over, and they must provide positive identification that includes data of birth, current address and sample signature.
  • Customer orders must be placed in writing, providing method of payment and directions for shipment, and they must be signed by the customer.
  • Store will check order with identification provided and verify that the customer is 19 or over; does not reside in a community with a liquor store; and the cannabis order is not being shipped to a community where cannabis is prohibited or the cannabis order would violate cannabis restriction rules.
  • Payment will be rendered before cannabis is shipped.
  • Each order will be packaged and sent individually to the purchaser by common carrier at the address provided on the identification provided by the purchaser.
  • The purchaser must sign for the shipment.

9. How will you keep cannabis out of the hands of young people?

The GNWT is committed to having effective measures in place to restrict youth access to cannabis, and to protect young people from promotion or enticements to use cannabis. Some ways the proposed legislation would do this include:

  • Using an established distribution system that has mechanisms in place to protect against access by minors.
  • Setting the minimum age for the purchase, consumption, and possession of cannabis in the NWT at 19 years of age.
  • Developing and implementing public education and awareness campaigns to reach youth, parents, elders, teachers and health care providers, to ensure they have accurate information about the risks and harms associated with cannabis use.
  • Banning public smoking or vaping of cannabis in areas frequented by children and crowds, from vehicles, and from any place where tobacco smoking is not allowed.

10.What if people don’t want to have cannabis available in their community?

Communities will have the option to hold a plebiscite to decide whether restrictions or prohibitions on cannabis should be put in place, similar to the options available for restricting liquor.

11.How will cannabis be taxed? Where will that money go?

Canadian finance ministers have agreed to an approach to cannabis taxation for the initial two years. This approach will meet the dual objectives of restricting use by youth, and eliminating the illegal market to the extent possible. Under the agreement:

  • The GNWT agrees that the federal government will apply an excise tax on cannabis at the producer level on behalf of the Northwest Territories at a combined rate that will not exceed the higher of $1 per gram, or 10% of a producer’s selling price.
  • The GNWT will receive 75% of the federal cannabis excise tax revenue generated in the Northwest Territories.
  • NWT Liquor Commission cannabis mark-ups will cover operating cost and capital expenses and a normal rate of return. Excess profits will not be allowed.

Cannabis tax revenues will go into the General Revenue Fund for allocation to GNWT priorities, which will include expenditures for programs concerning cannabis such as public health education and drug-related health programs.

The GNWT does not expect that the legalization of cannabis will generate significant tax revenue, mainly because tax rates will need to be kept low in order to remain competitive with, and eventually eliminate, the existing illegal market.

12.What will be the rules for cannabis on worksites?

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) will review occupational health and safety regulations and consult with employers, labour groups and workers to ensure that any changes or additions adequately address impairment issues.

In the Northwest Territories many employers have rules and programs in place that address impairment in the workplace and keep employees safe.

The WSCC will revise its regulations, and develop educational materials and tools to support workers and employers in understanding their obligations under those regulations.

13.How will the rules around smoking cannabis be enforced? Will there be penalties?

The RCMP will enforce the federal Cannabis Act and the Criminal Code provisions related to impaired driving.
GNWT law will specify who is responsible for enforcing rules in territorial legislation.

There will be fines for smoking cannabis in public places where it is not allowed.

For example, the same inspectors that enforce the laws around tobacco smoking in public will enforce the laws for smoking cannabis in public.

These inspectors are Environmental Health Officers from the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services. Enforcement activities will usually be initiated by complaints, similar to tobacco smoking.

Community governments will have the authority to make and enforce their own bylaws and to request that community officers or inspectors to have community officers or inspectors do enforcement as well.

14.Why is the GNWT choosing to have different rules for specific groups of drivers?

The federal government has proposed changes to the Criminal Code that will set the legal limit for certain drugs, or drugs and alcohol together, in a driver’s system and the criminal charges that will apply for those who are above the legal limit. The provinces and territories have the ability to impose additional consequences for impaired driving, such as suspending a person’s driver’s licence for a period of time.

The GNWT is proposing to suspend the driver’s licence of some individuals found with any amount of alcohol or prohibited drugs in their system, specifically: drivers who are younger than 22, people who have a learner’s licence or a probationary licence and people who drive certain types of commercial vehicles. This zero tolerance approach is consistent with similar zero tolerance laws currently in place or being proposed in other Canadian jurisdictions.

Young drivers are overrepresented in statistics on injuries and fatalities caused by motor vehicle collisions in Canada, and many young people believe that driving while under the influence of cannabis is less dangerous then driving under the influence of alcohol, which is simply not true.
The proposed zero tolerance approach will send a clear message that smoking cannabis will impair driving abilities and that mixing cannabis with driving is a serious threat to road safety and will not be tolerated.

15.What if a person smoked cannabis recently, but is not impaired?

The proposed new zero-tolerance laws under the Motor Vehicles Act will make it an offence for drivers who are younger than 22 years of age, drivers who have a learner’s or probationary driver’s licence, and drivers who operate certain types of commercial vehicles to have any amount of cannabis or alcohol in their system, regardless of whether or not they are found to be impaired. The oral fluid drug detecting devices that will be used to enforce proposed zero-tolerance laws for drugs in the NWT do not detect the non-impairing components of cannabis, so they would only provide a positive result in situations where cannabis has recently been consumed.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (also known as physical coordination tests) and evaluations by Drug Recognition Experts are testing methods approved under the Criminal Code to detect driver impairment by drugs. These testing methods are also proposed for use under the Motor Vehicles Act.

It is important to remember that people react to cannabis differently. Reactions depend on various factors, such as the strength of the cannabis consumed/smoked, how it is consumed/smoked, and how quickly the individual metabolizes it. Because of this, it is impossible to say for sure how long an individual should wait to drive after consuming
cannabis, as the impairing affects will vary from person to person. If you have recently consumed cannabis you should not be driving.

16.Will these rules apply to medical cannabis users?

The proposed new rules will apply to all drivers, regardless of whether they have an exemption to use medical cannabis.

17.Once it is legal, how long should a person wait to drive after consuming cannabis?

Unlike alcohol, the existing scientific evidence does not provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or how long a driver should wait to drive after consuming cannabis.

Everyone reacts to cannabis differently. Reactions depend on various factors, such as the strength of the cannabis consumed, how it is consumed, how quickly the individual metabolizes it, and if it is consumed with other impairing substances such as alcohol. Because of this, it is impossible to say for sure how long an individual should wait to drive after consuming cannabis, as the impairing affects will vary from person to person.

Mixing driving with cannabis, or any other impairing drug, is not safe and poses a serious danger on our roads and highways.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Share your thoughts on cannabis legalization by completing our online survey.

Cannabis and the NWT

The Way Forward

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.

Cannabis Legalization in the Northwest Territories The Way Forward

The cannabis public engagement was widely publicized, including print advertising in seven territorial and regional newspapers, and through radio announcements, posters, and social media.

The public engagement was an important step in understanding the concerns of residents before developing legislation for the Northwest Territories, and this is reflected in the proposed framework. A summary of the results of the public engagement can be found in the Cannabis Legalization in the Northwest Territories What We Heard Report, which is available on the website of the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs.

Since the public engagement the GNWT has been working to develop a plan that protects the health and safety of residents and communities. This document lays out the resulting proposed framework.

Our Goal

The GNWT is committed to having effective measures in place guided by the following principles, which were supported during the public engagement:

• restrict youth access to cannabis, and protect young people from promotion or enticements to use cannabis;

• allow adults to possess and access regulated, quality controlled legal cannabis;

• discourage drug-impaired driving;

• protect workers and the public from drug-impairment in the workplace;

• protect public health by controlling the public smoking of cannabis; • enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis;

• provide a safe and secure retail regime for the adult purchase of cannabis; and

• provide for local options to establish cannabis distribution and consumption restrictions and prohibitions.

Our Plan

Minimum Age

The minimum age for the purchase, consumption, and possession of cannabis in the NWT will be set at 19 years.

The federal government has set the minimum age to buy cannabis at 18 years in the proposed Cannabis Act, but provinces and territories can raise that limit. The GNWT proposes to increase that age to 19 years.

Setting the minimum age at 19 years is consistent with the age for legally buying alcohol in the NWT, and provides youth with an additional year of maturity and brain development before they can legally buy and use cannabis.

The public engagement found that a majority of participants supported increasing the legal age for cannabis, with many suggesting 19 to tie in with the age for buying and drinking alcohol.

Possessing Cannabis

Possessing Cannabis

Adults 19 and older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in a public place.

The federal government has set the possession limit at 30 grams in the proposed Cannabis Act, but provinces and territories can lower that limit. The GNWT is not proposing to reduce the federal government’s possession limit.

People under the age of 19 will not be allowed to purchase or possess cannabis. Youth found with less than five grams of cannabis will face penalties similar to those for underage possession of alcohol or tobacco, including seizure of the cannabis and notification of parents or guardians.

Youth who possess more than five grams will face criminal charges. As is the case with liquor, cannabis in a vehicle must be unopened. Any opened cannabis must be resealed and placed in a space in the vehicle that is inaccessible to those in the vehicle, such as the trunk.

The amount of cannabis that an individual may carry into the NWT will match the federal possession limits (30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent).

Most participants in the public engagement agreed that the federal 30 gram carry limit is appropriate.

Buying Cannabis

Buying Cannabis

The Liquor Commission will assume the responsibility for importation and sale of cannabis. The proposed federal Cannabis Act sets minimum health and safety standards that must be included in provincial and territorial legislation regulating cannabis, but it is up to each province and territory to decide how cannabis will be sold and distributed to their residents. The GNWT wants to establish a distribution and sales system that eliminates the illegal cannabis market, and restricts youth access to cannabis. The GNWT proposes to use the Liquor Commission to establish a cannabis distribution system similar to the current liquor distribution system.

Initially, cannabis will be sold through liquor stores, as these operations have experience in both the safe “store front” retail of controlled substances, and in the running of mail order sales that use delivery safeguards for sales in communities without liquor stores. Retail staff will be appropriately trained and knowledgeable about the products that are available, and will provide information about how to use cannabis responsibly. Age verification will be strictly enforced.

The GNWT recognizes that there is a strong interest in taking advantage of the business opportunities associated to the legalization of cannabis. There will be nothing in the legislation that prevents the future sale of cannabis in “cannabis only” stores. However, given the timeline imposed by the federal government, the GNWT’s priority is to ensure that there is an established and reliable system to sell cannabis in place by July 2018. After this milestone has been reached, the GNWT will be open to exploring other options for the future sale of cannabis. Medical cannabis can only be purchased from federally licensed producers (online or over the phone) and delivered by secure mail. Medical cannabis will continue to be the responsibility of the federal government, and the GNWT will not have a role in its regulation.

When asked whether sales should be controlled by a GNWT agency such as the Liquor Commission or whether an open system with more retailers would be preferred, participants in the public engagement were fairly evenly split, with a small majority favouring the Liquor Commission model.

Consuming Cannabis

Consuming Cannabis

Adults will be allowed to smoke cannabis in their homes and in some public places.

The federal government will not be regulating the public smoking of cannabis, but provinces and territories will be developing rules in this area. In an effort to protect children, to limit normalization of use and to prevent second-hand smoke exposure, the GNWT proposes to ban the public smoking or vaping of cannabis in areas frequented by children and crowds, from vehicles, and from any place where tobacco smoking is not allowed. There will be no consumption of cannabis at cannabis retail outlets, and there will be no designated establishments where recreational cannabis can be consumed.

The GNWT will allow adults to smoke cannabis on their private property. Residents will also be allowed to smoke cannabis on trails, highways, roads, and streets, and in parks when not in use for a public event, unless municipal governments make bylaws that expand the areas where the smoking of cannabis is prohibited. Residential property owners, including the owners of residential rental properties, have authority to make their properties smoke free.

In the public engagement opinions on public consumption varied greatly. Many supported a regime that follows the same rules that now apply to tobacco, and others suggested additional prohibitions.

Growing Cannabis

Growing Cannabis

Adults will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household for personal use.

The proposed federal legislation would allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home for personal use, but provinces and territories can lower that limit.

The GNWT does not propose to reduce this limit. Renters, and those who live in multi-family dwellings, may be restricted from growing cannabis in their homes based on rules established in rental agreements or condominium bylaws.

The GNWT will work to educate landlords, renters and condo boards on the options available to them.

Most participants in the public engagement agreed that the federal four plant limit is appropriate.

Local Options for Communities

Local Options for Communities

Communities will have the option to hold a plebiscite to decide whether restrictions or prohibitions on cannabis should be put in place, parallel to the options available for restricting liquor.

In response to concerns around alcohol addiction and related social issues, communities currently have the ability to establish restrictions and prohibitions on liquor. The GNWT proposes to create similar rules for cannabis to allow communities the same authority to make local decisions on how to deal with cannabis.

The public engagement results were fairly evenly split on whether communities should be able to ban or restrict the use of cannabis, with a small majority in support of providing for this option.

Drug-Impaired Driving

Drug-Impaired Driving

New offences and penalties will be added to existing legislation.

The federal government is strengthening its drug-impaired driving laws, and provinces and territories can choose to develop additional remedies for dealing with drug-impaired driving.

The GNWT proposes that novice drivers, drivers age 21 and under, and commercial drivers not be allowed to have any amount of prohibited drugs, alcohol or cannabis in their systems whenoperating a motor vehicle. Administrative licence suspensions will apply to any driver who fails a Standardized Field Sobriety Test, fails or refuses to submit to tests under the Criminal Code, or is determined to be impaired based on an evaluation conducted by a Drug Recognition Expert.

The GNWT is working to develop public education materials, and will work to support the federal government’s planned public awareness campaign to deter drug-impaired driving. The GNWT will work with the federal government to ensure police officers have the tools and training they need to better address drug-impaired driving.

Participants in the public engagement stressed that fines and penalties as well as enforcement and education would be important in responding to drug-impaired driving.

Workplace Impairment

Workplace Impairment

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) will review occupational health and safety regulations and consult with employers, labour groups and workers to ensure that any changes or additions adequately address impairment issues.

In the Northwest Territories many employers have rules and programs in place that address impairment in the workplace and keep employees safe. The WSCC will revise its regulations, and develop educational materials and tools to support workers and employers in understanding their obligations under those regulations.

Overall feedback during the public engagement indicated a strong call for clear workplace guidelines on cannabis use, and for effective education and awareness campaigns targeting employers and employees to ensure that they were aware of any new policies and regulations in the workplace.

Public Education and Awareness

Public Education and Awareness

Public education and awareness on cannabis will be an ongoing government initiative.

The GNWT is developing cannabis public education and awareness materials, and working to determine effective approaches for reaching youth, parents, elders, teachers and health care providers, to ensure they have accurate information about the risks and harms associated with cannabis use. The departments of Health and Social Services and Education, Culture and Employment are working together to determine the tools and supports required to educate youth in the school system. The GNWT will endorse the federal government’s Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, and will work with health care partners to share and promote them.

The GNWT will work to support the federal government’s planned public awareness campaign to promote education and harm reduction.

The importance of public education and awareness was perhaps the strongest overall theme to emerge from the public engagement. Respondents suggested multiple strategies the GNWT could use to reach the public with health messages about cannabis use. Respondents also identified the need for balanced, evidence-based education and awareness campaigns, and for easily accessible information about cannabis. Many stressed that education and public awareness must be targeted at everyone, and not just children and youth.