Article by Ollie Williams, Cabin Radio
NWT residents are talking about cannabis without knowing much if anything about the substance, say MLAs who conducted a two-week tour of communities.
Three MLAs who held public hearings across the territory say nobody gave residents any facts about cannabis, leaving locals uneducated and ill-equipped to provide reasoned feedback.
They said both the territorial and federal governments had failed to educate residents in time for the legalization of cannabis this summer, creating a “great divide” between Elders and younger community members.
“We as the government have not done a good job of educating people,” Shane Thompson, the MLA for Nahendeh, told Mornings at the Cabin.
“What are we doing with the older generation? How are we educating people about this product? We’re not doing that. I think the government has failed.”
‘Letting students down’
Two sets of public consultations have taken place as the territory races to draft legislation governing the legalization of cannabis to meet a tight federal timeline.
In the fall of 2017, the territorial government visited a number of communities and also invited feedback online.
For the past two weeks, regular MLAs followed that with their own whirlwind tour of the territory’s communities – ostensibly to scrutinize the proposed legislation with residents’ feedback, though MLAs say in reality they spent much of their time trying to educate people about the substance itself and the basic issues.