Article by David Brown, Lift
When the government begins to digest the marijuana legalization task force’s report, the feedback they will be reading will come from numerous stakeholders — from individual citizens, to activist groups, health professionals, and municipal, provincial, and territorial governments, to name a few.
We’ve covered a lot of issues arising from many of these groups, but we’ve not yet discussed in depth the issues facing Canada’s territories.
The type of feedback the task force receives depends on where it’s coming from. As far as different jurisdictions in Canada go, Provinces are most concerned with managing distribution (and tax revenue), while municipalities have often focussed more on the ability to manage retail locations and the need for tax revenue to make its way back to the local level.
For Canada’s territories, some of the issues are a little different. In remote areas with sometimes higher rates of drug use or abuse than other parts of Canada, some of the concerns being voiced by territorial leaders are based around high rates of cannabis use and arrests, and how legalization will impact those issues — for better or worse. In remote areas, it’s also more common for marijuana to be shipped in from elsewhere, connecting it more with criminal organizations than local growers.
With about 65,000 people living in Nunavut and the Yukon, and another 44,000 in the Northwest Territories (many in remote areas), Canada’s territories are notoriously challenging for basic issues of retail distribution.