Whitehorse Daily Star

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Tracy-Anne McPhee

Territory is pursuing its own cannabis legislation

The Yukon government plans to have its own cannabis legislation in place when marijuana becomes legal across Canada in July 2018.

By Sidney Cohen on June 13, 2017

The Yukon government plans to have its own cannabis legislation in place when marijuana becomes legal across Canada in July 2018.

The territorial law could pave the way for a retail weed market in the territory, though the justice minister said it’s too early to confirm whether the Yukon legislation will support brick-and-mortar dispensaries.

The purpose of the Yukon’s legislation will be “to keep Yukoners safe, to restrict access to cannabis to youth, and remove profits that are related to organized crime,” said minister Tracy-Anne McPhee.

Last Thursday, Brad Cathers, the justice critic for the Yukon Party, asked about the Yukon government’s plans for the distribution and sale of marijuana in the territory.

The federal Cannabis Act “will create real challenges for the provinces and territories that have to do the heavy lifting of dealing with licensing, distribution, retail sales and highway enforcement,” said Cathers.

McPhee said a working group was established and Justice is working in co-ordination with Health and Social Services, Education and the Yukon Liquor Corp. on legislation, but offered little in the way of detail.

Last November, a federal task force on marijuana conducted extensive consultations with governments, youth, legal and health experts and published a “framework” for pot legalization and regulation in Canada.

A “strong majority” of online comments submitted to the task force supported the storefront model – distribution through privately owned dispensaries.

“The advantage of the storefront model, according to many online respondents, would be to foster competition that would keep prices low and discourage the illegal market,” reads the report.

Several submissions to the task force also suggested a retail weed market could create jobs and boost local economies.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recommended that licensing ensures the design of storefront operations does not “glamourize” the use of pot.

Public health organizations said marijuana and alcohol should not be sold at the same site.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police warned that organized crime might find its way into storefront operations, and said measures should be taken to prevent this from happening.

Cathers asked whether the Yukon would seek financial assistance from Ottawa to help deal with the “significant burden of developing a new regulatory framework” for legal cannabis.

McPhee didn’t have an answer to that question, but said “Yukoners’ safety and wellness is foremost in our minds” as the government develops its cannabis plan.

Legislation proposed by the federal Liberals would allow adults aged 18 and older to posses up to 30 grams of dried marijuana, and share up to 30 grams with other adults.

Cannabis would be purchased from a provincially licensed retailer.

Provinces and territories would have the option of raising the age restriction to bring it in line with the local minimum age for buying alcohol.

Adults in provinces or territories that don’t have a regulated retail marijuana system would be able to order weed through the mail from a federally licensed retailer.

The federal Cannabis Act would also create two new criminal offences: one for giving or selling weed to a minor, and one for “using a youth to commit a cannabis related offence.”

Each of these offences carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Comments (19)

Up 0 Down 0

Anonymous on Jun 19, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Nice job Josey. I express a real concern about kids being high at school and you blame the school. Yep, let's just say education is to blame for everything. HUGE SARCASM there. How bout trying to come up with a practical solution rather than just bashing the teachers.

Up 5 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Jun 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Busily working on the next cluster of ducks.

Up 8 Down 12

Alan Trail on Jun 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I live in fear of the legalization of pot in Yukon. Why?

The bar will be lowered and you can bet the number of impaired drivers will increase.

Up 6 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Hear ya on that Hugh. Hard to say if YTG will be ready or not but I sure will be.

Up 12 Down 1

Hugh Mungus on Jun 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

ProScience Greenie et all: We can't model our distribution and sales after any state. After all, pot is still illegal in the entire USofA and yes you can still be charged by a Federal officer in 'legal states'. In the case of Alaska for example, it's a federal offense to transport pot via land, sea or air. So you wonder how pot is getting into all those land locked cities, towns and hamlets. Are people breaking the law to do it? Yes.

So these models are irrelevant to the situation in Canada where the Feds are legalising the possession, growing and use of it and leaving it to the provinces and territories to come up with distribution models and age of majority.

Each jurisdiction has to worry about about the quality and strength of their product or it will fail to snuff out the black market (the original intent of legalising it) and this is where I see many places messing up.

Bottom line the YG Justice better get moving on this because when pot starts arriving in local shops next June I have my doubts they will be ready.

Up 13 Down 9

Dave on Jun 14, 2017 at 9:32 pm

There are so many other much more important issues that the federal government needed to make a priority and this is what 'Lil Tater was determined to push through right away. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns, but I guess Trudeaus strategy is if the population is all high on legal weed they can't tell that he hasn't really accomplished anything except letting some refugees in and increasing the debt astronomically with absolutely zero to show for it. Remember how the budget will balance itself and all that?

Up 6 Down 46

Mark on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

If and when pot becomes legal, I will tell you this as a warning....if anyone hits my vehicle in even a minor fender bender, the police will be called and that person will be peeing in a bottle for any sign of impairment. Then comes the lawsuit. Since pot will stay in your system you will most likely be found guilty. I will then proceed to publish the story in any way possible, followed by a meeting with your employer. I will use this new stupid law against you in any way possible. I will do my best to ruin your life over it. You have been warned!

Up 24 Down 12

Just Sayin' on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Sigh, First, Ms. Mcphee couldn't organize an orgy in a brothel. She is the Minister of Justice and Education. She and her servants under her are awful. They cannot provide substantial statistics, scientific articles to back up any of the claims she made with the changes to the education system and now she's going to get come up with new laws for Cannabis use? I doubt she has seen the effects Cannabis has on young kids. I am sure she will have to change the curriculum again and put further fluff in it so the kids have a chance of graduating. Honestly, whomever elected her (people in Riverdale south) you should not be allowed to vote again. Send her back to BC and perhaps she will gain some experience as to how things should be done.

Up 22 Down 1

Mitch Holder on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Great more people who don't know what they are doing are going to conduct studies and come up with legislation at the cost of taxpayers monies, because they explain carbon tax with such knowledge and competency, don't they? Just stop dicking around with things that don't need the professional customization YTG is so famous for please.

Up 12 Down 6

Politico on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

@Alex Gandler Cathers argues everything that isn't an YP originated idea!

Up 12 Down 9

Josey Wales on Jun 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Hey anonymous ...spending time in public schools is what has created often clueless kids that cannot communicate with others living in the free real world....not weed.
Factor in that please with the cognitive impairment process.

Up 17 Down 12

Privacy Please on Jun 13, 2017 at 9:58 pm

I do not want to walk into a retail store in this little city of Whitehorse to buy my weed. I want to get it from exactly who I get it from now, I just don't want them to get arrested for it, or me.

Absolutely call Alaska! This should not be rocket science.

Up 12 Down 15

jc on Jun 13, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Here's a thought, the Libs could even appoint the local Hells Angels as a deputy minister and policy adviser.

Up 13 Down 19

Anonymous on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Please let us know how schools can deal with the increased availability. Just concerned since kids have shown up there so high they cannot even speak coherently.

Up 25 Down 1

Sandy Jamesen on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Just a thought from a former Yukoner. Send some people here to Colorado and see how it's done successfully. $100 million reasons.....annually.

Up 27 Down 1

Alex Gandler on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Let's just copy what British Columbia does and get rid of the McPhee / Cathers moronic bickering
because FRANKLY neither one has anything original or useful to say on the matter

Up 23 Down 3

Nile on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm

So basically McPhee just dogged the question with non answers because she has no idea what her department is doing. My confidence in this government is ever improving.

Up 6 Down 13

Josey Wales on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm

PSG....don't red tape it you say?
I know you are smarter than that, of course they will....ca mon?
Red...Liberal red tape is what defines them.
I think if there were an attempt for a universal everyone partake time, the world would be a way more mellow place.
I never heard of anyone ever getting killed by being hit over the head with a pack of zig zags...you? Less food would be wasted, as more folks would finish what they start...or not start at all.
More, evidence suggests booze is an actual gateway drug...to stupid.
Said stupid contributes to more dead folks than guns do exponentially so.
Said stupid costs on all sects of our society way negate revenue generate via taxation.
Governments manage to figure ways to put moving parts on a straight edge, kinda what they do...ya know that PSG.
Think of this nightmare, everyone baked at DMV....we might be stuck there now for days vs. hours?

Up 42 Down 5

ProScience Greenie on Jun 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Dear Alaska, can you send us over a copy of your MJ policy? Thanks in advance.
Don't over-red tape and mess this Yukon Libs. Same with the Opposition.

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