Members of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly focused on private cannabis sales as they publicly debated individual sections of Bill 6 — the territory’s proposed Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act — Monday morning.
The debate was part of a clause-by-clause review of the bill undertaken by the assembly’s standing committees on social development and government operations before the bill is voted on in the Legislative Assembly. That vote is expected to come during the current sitting of the Legislative Assembly, which began on May 24.
After hearing public opinion from 16 communities across the N.W.T., members of the standing committee recommended an amendment be added to the bill to allow for private retail sales of cannabis.
The amendment won’t prevent the sale through liquor stores — the territory’s proposed method of distribution.
Liquor commissions would still act as the wholesaler; however, the amendment would expand the depth of the legal cannabis retail system.
The major theme for allowing for private sales was to disrupt the sale of cannabis on the “black market” in the N.W.T. MLA for Hay River North, R.J Simpson, said he thinks “people desire a different approach,” and the amendment is looking at cannabis legalization “from a harm reduction perspective.”