Whitehorse Daily Star

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DETAILS COMING SOON – Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says she looks forward to releasing the territory’s plans in the management of legalized cannabis.

Pro-cannabis respondents smoke dissidents

A significant majority of Yukoners are behind the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana for recreational use

By Taylor Blewett on November 10, 2017

A significant majority of Yukoners are behind the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana for recreational use and believe it’s acceptable to occasionally use the drug for exactly that reason.

Those findings are in the results from the Yukon government’s most successful survey ever in terms of participation numbers.

Nearly 3,200 responses to the introductory section of a YG public engagement survey on cannabis legalization were filed.

Eighty-one per cent of participants indicated support for Ottawa’s plans to legalize the drug, with 76 and 75 per cent saying it is socially acceptable to recreationally eat and smoke cannabis, respectively.

Many of the respondents – between 2,416 and 2,817, depending on the section – went on to answer subsequent optional questions, organized into categories.

As far as how influential these survey responses will actually be in shaping the territory’s cannabis legislation, “the survey was drafted to allow Yukoners to provide their input and that input is now being considered,” Patricia Randell, the director of cannabis implementation and education with the Department of Justice, said via email.

“The survey results will inform the Government of Yukon’s decision-makers as they draft the necessary legislation and regulations, as will the feedback received from First Nation governments, municipalities, and stakeholders across the territory.”

Eighty-five per cent of respondents indicated they agree with a policy focus on public health, safety, harm reduction and preventing negative health impacts on young people.

Develop the legislation

“As we develop the legislation, we will continue to consider the impacts associated with the normalization of cannabis – particularly as is relates to its effects on youth, pregnant women, and those at risk of psychosis or cardiovascular disease,” Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said in a statement on the survey results.

A slim majority of respondents – 51 per cent – were in favour of a mixed retail model for cannabis, with both government and private retailers operating in the Yukon market.

Twenty-four per cent supported exclusively private while 19 per cent favoured exclusively government-operated stores.

Forty-three per cent agreed that communities by way of local governments should have the right to refuse a cannabis retail store from operating in their jurisdiction, while 58 per cent supported the online sale and home delivery of marijuana.

The government has not made any decisions about the territory’s retail model, according to Randell.

There was division among respondents as to age requirements for possessing, purchasing or growing cannabis, with 45 per cent behind 19 years as a minimum age, 22 per cent behind 21 years, and 21 per cent behind 18 years.

More consensus was apparent around road safety.

Significant majorities – 80 and 87 per cent – agreed with zero tolerance for any alcohol or drugs for new drivers and those drivers under the age of 21, and drivers operating commercial vehicles, respectively.

A craft marijuana cultivation and retail industry in the Yukon appears to have significant support behind it.

The survey had 84 per cent of respondents indicating support for locally grown cannabis, 83 per cent supporting secondary product manufacturing – hemp, for example – and 72 per cent supporting “cannabis-related retail opportunities.”

The act governing Yukon cannabis regulations this survey is intended to inform, according to the YG press release, will be in place before federal legislation is enacted in July 2018.

Ottawa reaffirmed its commitment to this deadline in a statement released today.

The federal Department of Finance also outlined for public consultation its proposed excise tax on cannabis sales.

It would see $1 per gram or 10 per cent of the producer’s sale price – whichever is higher – taxed, with Ottawa and the provinces and territories splitting the revenue 50/50.

Premier Sandy Silver has expressed his displeasure with this ratio.

“We believe that our expenses are a lot more than the federal government’s expenses,” he told local media in October.

He did not clarify what he thought a more appropriate division of funds would be.

Neither the premier nor Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee were available to the Star to comment on the tax proposal or the status of the territory’s cannabis regulations.

“We are working diligently on our proposed Yukon approach and I look forward to releasing details in the near future,” McPhee said in the survey press release.

The survey – hosted online, and available on paper and over the phone, by request – ran from Aug. 10 to Sept. 30.

Yukon residents made up 97 per cent of the respondents.

Comments (24)

Up 1 Down 0

Billy on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Forget the surveys..... it’s happening whether anyone likes it or not, it’s more money for the governments so there’s no stopping anything now . Might as well have a toke, sit back and watch the federal and provincial governments fight over who should get the lions share of the profits .

Up 9 Down 6

Dave Evans on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:38 am

@tom Many years ago there were a couple of towns where public drinking was still legal. Meetings were had to deal with the public drunkenness. It was decided that drinking in public was a primary reason for the situation and so public drinking was made illegal. I always did and still do contend that such legislation was useless. Guess what....the drunks are still out in public but now I can't drink a beer on Lake Bennett beach.....yet I still do. Why? Because it's a stupid law.

Bit of a tangent right off the bat but you alluded to ANY impaired driving as being wrong, dangerous, etc. Problem is impaired driving stems from many many sources. Just pulled a double shift under pressure? You're impaired. Been up all night with junior but still have to drop him off to daycare and get to work? You're impaired. Just had a fight with your beau and had to get some space? You're impaired. Passing oncoming traffic in the dark in blowing snow? You're impaired and so is whoever is hiding in the snowcloud behind the oncoming traffic. Somebody driving at you with high beams on? You're driving impaired. Insist on doing 60km/h when 90 kmh is safe and you force people to route around you while you obstinately do 60 simply because you can....you are driving impaired...everyone else is is co-dependently impaired.

Driving impaired can mean many things to many people. Some are driving impaired period...dead sober.

Drinking and driving is illegal. Why? Because drunk driving is dangerous. Drinking and driving is not the problem....driving drunk is. Yet we legislate that which needn't be to universally allow for that which should be.

I'm not saying that smoking and driving should be condoned...but let's not blow it out of proportion. I'd way rather drive with someone stoned as opposed to being picked up by some guy while hitchhiking that just worked a double, came home opened a fridge devoid of beer, found his wife in the sack with his buddy and his empty cans, slams out the door to find a flat tire, fixes that then gets stuck behind somebody doing 30 kmh under the speed limit before he picks me up.....all of which is perfectly legal.

You can't legislate the stupid out....but you can choose not to pick the low hanging fruit of the stupid tree. Spending huge amounts of money to study and mitigate problems that are at best small ones is a terrible start. You won't change anything but the amount of money wasted.

People are people, some are impaired sober, some are quite capable with a buzz....some can't shoot pool or curl unless @#$%faced....go figure.

Up 8 Down 3

Dave Evans on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

Sadly the legalized weed is and will be one of the most prime examples of an oxymoron in recent history. More accurately it will likely be more scrutinized than ever before at the expense of the taxpayers whether they smoke or not. It's inherent to the governmental process. eg: As government....identify a problem that is really not much of a problem, assign staffing to study the problem, come up with needless policies and procedures to further study the no problem problem, make the burgeoning process ever more complicated by figuring out how to make money on the the problem, now figure out how to lose money while spending gobs of it trying to make a little of it.....you get where this goes. The government will forever spend a dollar to save a dime, always have.

If they had truly wanted to do some good they would have simply made it "legal" and stricken it from the books altogether. POOF! Money saved on every front. Got weed? We no longer care, so carry on. Smoke weed? As long as you use it much the same as smokes...we don't care, carry on. Tax it? Tax it then....you already tax smokes and beer, carry on. Selling it? As long as you do your taxes and gst and such....carry on. Growing it? Treat it like craft beer, if for sale then treat it like a business. On and on and on. Just stop focusing on it and spending my money trying to make money simply to cover your studies and regulations and administrations which are largely pointless and unnecessary to begin with. Wanna save money and give average Joe a chance to make some? Then make the weed legal, get it off the books and walk away.....we'll (us taxpayers and workers) take care of the rest. Don't spend another dime worrying your pretty little govie head about it.

The Ontario scenario should be a good wake up call for us here. Think about it. First they said, yes we will legalize....then it all goes wrong from there. More accurately what they said is "we commit to spending gobs of your money addressing something we should be ignoring instead." As soon as they said "legalize the hemorrhaging of money began....and continues...right now. Right now money is being burned dealing with the problem that is no problem....which is a specialty of government of course.

Woe be the day when the govies think they see a way to make cash off the act of us wiping our butts....because you know once they get all up in there trying to legislate a way to regulate our taxable butt wiping there's no way you'll get them out. Governmental constipation....avoid it in all it's iterations.

Up 4 Down 0

Rorex1983 on Nov 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

@Tom Stevens
Reread your original comment which basically says if you include impaired driving that alcohol is less harmful. "probably less harmful than alcohol if you don't consider impaired driving into the argument" If you include impaired driving it's a landslide that pot is safer.

I agree that combined intoxication is the worse which is why I said "cannabis only impaired driving". Further, I didn't say that Cannabis impaired driving doesn't account for any accidents I said "any reasonable percentage of accidents". Here is a quote from Stats Canada "drug-impaired driving incidents represent 4% of all impaired driving incidents." And that's all drugs, not just Cannabis. This literally means that alcohol accounts for 96%.

Driving impaired is terrible and the legality of any drug in no way changes that driving impaired is illegal. The two are not connected.

In fact, the additional funding generated by new taxes, if used properly by the government, could be used to purchase new devices for impaired driver detection, provide more manpower for enforcement, and provide funding for education and rehabilitation. All of which translates to less of a problem, not more. This not to mention that you will be removing a revenue stream from organized crime and free RCMP resources that are currently investigating cannabis related crime other than impaired driving.

Up 22 Down 11

Tom Stevens on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

@Rorex1983.. sorry brother, but any impaired driving is wrong, dangerous and puts others at risk. The stoner driving 30 in a 90 is just as dangerous and should not be on the road. Worst impaired is the one who mixes weed and booze to double the trouble. Arguments like yours that pot impaired driving is safe is what makes the conservative side of the argument against decriminalization have value. And the argument that no pot impaired driver has caused or been involved in a collision due to impairment is completely without evidence.

Up 20 Down 4

Rorex1983 on Nov 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Simply put everything in moderation. There are tons of people who moderately drink alcohol or smoke cannabis and are in no way an issue. The issue comes when it isn't moderate and is now abuse of a substance.

However, if you think we need to put laws in place in order to reduce access to certain substances to prevent substance abuse.... well then you don't understand substance abuse cause laws won't prevent it. And really there are plenty of other things much more harmful that we should be making illegal by that logic. For example fast food...which actually kills people when abused.

At least if it is legal it's the government earning tax revenue that can be used to enhance health care or to enhance society in some other way. Where does this money go otherwise? Criminal organizations.

This isn't a thing that needs to be debated. Either A you want to support criminal organizations or B you want to generate tax revenue that can be used for the benefit of society. If you are going with A you're probably a criminal.

Up 14 Down 17

Rorex1983 on Nov 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

@Kj don't be foolish plenty of research has been done and this has been legal in a lot of other countries for a long time. It used to be legal in all countries. This plant has been in use and legal for more of human history than not.

@Tom Stevens "probably less harmful than alcohol if you don't consider impaired driving into the argument" What? Good luck finding any reasonable percentage of accidents the result of cannabis only impaired driving, it's all booze. Tons of studies that show that too. Alcohol-impaired driving is rampant and kills boatloads of people, cannabis-impaired driving is that guy driving that you thought was an old lady doing 30 in a 90 zone.

Up 21 Down 12

Kj on Nov 14, 2017 at 2:23 am

Realistically there is little research on any side for marijuana. Why? Because it is illegal. Try to get a licence to do a study on marijuana by giving marijuana to thousands of people for 10 years and analyzing the results....not gonna happen...just like giving any other illegal drug to people Look, I don’t think weed is the worst thing on the planet, and certainly alcohol is worse as a sum total substance. But do I think it should be legalized...no. Maybe let’s start with decriminalizing it first and go from there.
Let’s just call it what it is. Medical marijuana, although has its benifits and legitimate uses...but as a whole is a scam and heavily abused...we all know it. Every community has that dr that hands out prescriptions like candy on Halloween.
I think society already has more than it can handle with one mind altering substance.
This is a political angle...to get votes.
Society on alcohol = people fight, break things etc. Society on weed = sit down, do nothing accomplish nothing, and can’t remember where they put their wallet.

Up 19 Down 26

Yukoner31 on Nov 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Another reason I'm happy Trudeau and the Liberals gained power. This would never have happened under the Conservatives. They still think its 1910 lol. Even our local conservatives (see Yukon Party) voted against advancing gay rights this past year so I'm guessing they probably oppose legalizing the wacky tobaccy as well. I'm guessing 'Reefer Madness' sums up their position!

Up 15 Down 24

June Jackson on Nov 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

It has been my experience that no one, for any reason, at any time can convince a stoner that drugs, and cannabis is a drug; that it might not be good for them...Everyone pretty much today knows a cigarette is unhealthy, yet, will confidently state that weed is just fine..if it turns out that it is unhealthy, well, we'll just cook it in something.. but either way, a stoner is going to get those drugs.. even when it was against the law for them to do so... More stoners in the Yukon than not I think.

The greatest 'buzz' i ever experienced was about 20 minutes after the birth of my first child.. and I feel that buzz every time i look at them.. Such a great buzz, i had to buzz again a couple of more times.. I guess i don't understand why people have to be drunk or high; can't find a buzz in life itself?

Up 28 Down 1

Tom Stevens on Nov 13, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Couple of points... Pot is not harmless... nothing we consume is harmless.. less harmful than Fentanyl agreed, probably less harmful than alcohol if you don't consider impaired driving into the argument. Never good for kids, lots and lots of academic evidence to support that idea.

War on Drugs.. horrible failure... Something has to change to take the billions out of the hands or organized crime.
Very simple.. understand the difference between "party" and "problem". Don't go to work high, don't drive high, don't smoke where other people who choose not to have to tolerate you, keep your legal dope away from kids. Like any substance of pleasure, look after your obligations before you spend on the party.

Up 29 Down 14

ProScience Greenie on Nov 13, 2017 at 11:33 am

That's nothing but fear mongering Simon. It is not physically addictive and there have been zero overdoses ever. The psychosis scare is based on next to no studies and is to date a classic case of 'correlation does not always mean causation'.

And of course kids should stay away from weed just like booze and smokes. But it's out there now everywhere and will be illegal for kids when legalized so that's not a new problem for parents to deal with. It's more of an issue of bad parenting but we sadly don't have laws to deal with that.

Here's the thing. It is mostly harmless for adult use. It is an easy peasy plant to grow - it is everywhere. Keeping it illegal is a losing battle and a major waste of money and resources for the police and justice system that should be going towards dealing with hard drugs, prescription medicine abuse and all the gang members freely walking our streets.

And in the big picture it is time for the government to get it's nanny state nose out of the lives of responsible adult citizen's greenhouses, medicine cabinets, gun cabinets, raw cheese refrigerator shelf, our urine etc etc.

It is very disappointing that so many that were opposed to the LGR and went on and on about the nanny state side of that issue are so opposed to legalizing weed and get all big brother about it. Just more proof that many in both the far right and left camps are two sides of the same coin - willing supporters of an authoritarian nanny state.

If people don't like weed, long guns, same-sex marriage etc etc then they shouldn't have anything to do with that stuff. Live and let live and all that. Not the end of the world. No need to be all snowflake about it.

And a good number of conservative voters are in support of this. If Harper had have listened to them he might be PM now instead of Trudeau Jr.

Up 31 Down 20

yay... on Nov 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

a population that is 75% gov funded is in support of weed.

40% gov workers
35% social welfare/assistance programs

as a person who would wake and bake for 10 years solid; gotta say, not a good idea.
All the people I know who smoke have tried to quit, are trying to quit, or wish they never started.

Up 6 Down 2

Réal Guy on Nov 13, 2017 at 8:04 am

The "légaleezation" of Trudeau has always been gravitating around 1 common feature:


The idea cannabis will be made "legal" soon sounds pretty much like "fake news" when we align the sequence of events, too bad nobody cares to check what's been hidden in the 10 CDSA modifications performed By Justin Trudeau while he pretended we had to wait for his "Cannabis Act"...

Up 15 Down 10

Josey Wales on Nov 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

CRACK.....did you see that folks?
Dave just batted another over the wall, all runners in....good job sir!
Please, carry on Sir Dave.
PSG...think about what ya just said “ keep it simple “ ?
PSG can you actually, even introspective like...think of anything kept simple by any level of government?
Things out here are so insane I think everyone is freaking high, weed, crack, booze, power, virtue, revisionist delusional historians, diversity preachers, fluid gender identification, chicken lil climate zealots....etc.

Up 19 Down 6

Woodcutter on Nov 12, 2017 at 8:52 pm

@simon....are you for real? I would be scared to smoke what you have been. I would be glad to pay the tax, knowing that it goes to my country and community. Way better then the criminal gangs that are getting it now. It's a voluntary tax, and the poor by definition, do not have the resources to purchase, they prob will be growing it

Up 13 Down 25

Pamela on Nov 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm

means nothing if you don't ask people if they know the risks and science on marijuana use. Ask them how many know men should not use marijuana if they want to have children - due to risks of testicular cancer, sterility, sperm morphology and dna damage - then ask them.

Up 30 Down 13

YukonGirl on Nov 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm

@Simon - You really don't know much about marijuana if you believe it is highly addictive, quite the contrary. As for immediately mind altering, again you are wrong. Modern marijuana studies are limited but it can be agreed that the addictive qualities of marijuana compared to alcohol are slim to none. In fact THC, the mind altering substance in marijuana, has many positive uses such as cancer treatment, glaucoma treatment, etc... Fun fact, the negative views of marijuana actually stem from the cotton industry lobbying against it as a harmful substance because hemp was a superior textile to cotton which would have cut into their costs.
In fact, there are many peer reviewed scientific articles on the history of marijuana available online which I highly recommend people read into and learn the history of this substance before they continue crying about how harmful and bad it is. As a person who uses recreational marijuana sometimes myself, I am not addicted, am educated, hold a high paying job and own my own home. I am walking proof that the stigma is unwarranted. Mind alteration is usually seen in users who have underlying mental health conditions.

Up 26 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Nov 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Looks like Organised Crime will be replaced with Dis-organised Crime. Anybody still think this is not all about more money for government?

Up 27 Down 51

Simon on Nov 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm

@ProScience Greenie - Mostly harmless plant?!
Marijuana is highly addictive, is immediately mind-altering no matter how small the dosage (compared to similar amounts of alcohol) and can cause dangerous levels of psychosis in some people.

None of those side-effects are harmless. Quite the opposite.

Up 40 Down 11

Dave on Nov 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm

@Unfair Excise Tax, thanks for the laugh. The 'overtaxed poor people' you refer to had better have much more important things to worry about with their limited money besides buying weed. Or are you referring to the same poor people who spend their money on cigarettes and then somehow can't get by without going to the food bank for food? I suppose the next argument will be that using weed is a human right and the taxpayer should now pay for the underprivileged to use it.

Up 9 Down 23

Unfair Excise Tax on Nov 11, 2017 at 11:28 am

The federal gov wants to tax Canadians $1.00 per gram or 10% of producer's sale price - whichever - is higher taxed. You can purchase cannabis for $4.00 per gram and pay $1.00 extra for Tax, which = 25% of your cost. If you were to purchase cannabis for $12.00 per gram and pay 1.20 extra for tax, which = 10% of your cost. So if you could only afford to pay $4.00 a gram, the gov will charge you 25% tax. The gov is overtaxing the poor people using their tax formula. A fair tax formula would be 10%, no matter what the cost is.

Up 31 Down 22

jc on Nov 10, 2017 at 9:41 pm

With all the important issues facing society, all the liberals can focus on is marijuana, raising taxes and the deficit. However, the bright side to it is, those that voted for them, can pay the high price for it and pass the rest onto their children.

Up 29 Down 24

ProScience Greenie on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:11 pm

This small 'l' libertarian can't wait. About time the government minded it's own business about adult use of this mostly harmless simple plant. Like dill or oregano, about a pound a year should be good.

To YTG, for god's sake don't do what Ontario is doing. It shouldn't be a cash cow either. Keep is simple.

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