Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 06, 2018 - 1:30 pm

Nunavut’s Cannabis Act passes second reading

“This legislation is going to be made in Nunavut, through this house, by Nunavummiut for Nunavummiut.”

Nunavut’s Bill 7, the Cannabis Act, passed second reading in a unanimous vote June 4. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Nunavut’s Bill 7, the Cannabis Act, passed second reading in a unanimous vote June 4. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
“Bill 7 is about recognizing that our government should have a say on how cannabis is controlled in our territory,” says Finance Minister David Akeeagok. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
“Bill 7 is about recognizing that our government should have a say on how cannabis is controlled in our territory,” says Finance Minister David Akeeagok. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Nunavut-specific cannabis legislation is creeping closer to reality now that Bill 7, the Cannabis Act, has passed second reading, following a unanimous vote in the legislative assembly on Monday, June 4.

“Bill 7 is about recognizing that our government should have a say on how cannabis is controlled in our territory,” Finance Minister David Akeeagok said as he called to have the bill read for the second time.
After a bill passes second reading, it moves into a line-by-line review, to be done by Nunavut’s regular MLAs in the legislature’s committee of the whole. It must then receive third reading before becoming law.

Remarks by MLAs suggest that “made-in-Nunavut” legislation is a priority for both cabinet and regular members, so that the specific needs of Nunavummiut are recognized, should the federal government’s pending bill to legalize cannabis pass in the House of Commons this summer.

“It is obvious that in Nunavut cannabis is illegally brought in to the communities,” said Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak. “If we don’t have legislation, then the federal legislation would be imposed on us.”
Bill 7 would see a new liquor and cannabis commission struck in Nunavut.

The bill would allow for online sales of cannabis, but it would restrict residents from growing marijuana plants in their homes. There would also be restrictions on how much cannabis a person could carry into the territory in their airline luggage.

The bill also prohibits use of cannabis around schools, playgrounds, health centres and “any other place where minors frequent,” Akeeagok said.

The GN has said in a position paper that it doesn’t plan to allow any stores to sell cannabis in the territory this year. Akeeagok said that could change in the future, to help promote economic development and job creation in Nunavut, but communities would be consulted before any store might open.

Akeeagok sold the bill as a way to protect the health and safety of Nunavummiut, especially minors; provide safe distribution of cannabis to adults; combat an illegal cannabis market; and increase awareness of cannabis related risks.

In March, Nunavut’s legislature passed Bill 3, the Cannabis Statutes Amendment Act, which amends other territorial laws. Among other things, it would ban smoking cannabis everywhere smoking tobacco is forbidden. The bill would also require that marijuana in a vehicle be kept in a sealed and out-of-reach container. 

Police in Nunavut would be allowed to search vehicles and persons where cannabis is suspected.
Bill 3 would amend The Cities, Towns and Villages Act, the Motor Vehicles Act, the Liquor Act, the Marriage Act, the Pharmacy Act and the Tobacco Control Act.

“We want this bill to reflect in a balanced way what we heard from Nunavummiut during consultations,” Akeeagok said. “I look forward to reviewing it with members in detail.”

Earlier in the year, the GN held meetings across the territory to consult Nunavummiut on cannabis.

Prior to consultations, the government distributed a 10-page discussion paper on cannabis legalization.

The GN also ran a survey that showed three in four Nunavut residents support cannabis legalization.

It’s too soon to know how Nunavut will fit into Canada-wide cannabis taxation, but the GN will be keeping an eye on this as a source of revenue, Akeeagok said.

“We are one of the last province or territories drafting their legislation,” said Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa. “This legislation is going to be made in Nunavut, through this house, by Nunavummiut for Nunavummiut.”

Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet MLA Cathy Towtongie said that while she does not support cannabis legalization, she does support measures to restrict youth from using the substance.

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(26) Comments:

#1. Posted by bnuts on June 06, 2018

police in Nunavut will be allowed to search vehicles and persons where cannabis is suspected. this is complete bullshit

#2. Posted by The Old Trapper on June 06, 2018

So Nunavut will have the most restrictive cannabis legislation of any province or territory, why am I not surprized.

And as an added bonus the GN has thrown in probably illegal search & seizure measures that purport to allow the police to search any vehicle where cannabis is “suspected”.

Note to GN MLAs, you are elected to protect our rights, especially our Charter rights, not to freely give them up to police. You should be ashamed of this legislation.

A last point, Ms. Towtongie, three out of four Nunavut residents support the legalization of cannabis. You are certainly out of step with most of the population. And if God didn’t want cannabis to be used, why did he make it so easy to grow and so widespread?

#3. Posted by searches on June 06, 2018

I agree with #1 and #2.
what are the MLA’s thinking to allow warrentless searches?....

#4. Posted by Northern Inuit on June 06, 2018


finally, this is being dealt with.  what a horrible drug this is and I’m glad that our Politicians are doing something to help control it.

what a waste of legislation this is from climate change barbie.

one of the worst things that the liberals have created and the good people are going to have to deal with the consequences.  it’s already horrible enough that people are subjected to the smell and effects of dope. 

right now people are spending so much money on it.  you hear the arguments “ah it will be better when it’s cheap and legal, won’t have to spend so much on it”

yeah right, people will just buy more and smoke more of this shit.  horrible drug.

#5. Posted by reader on June 06, 2018

It may legalized like alcohol but it can be banned too. Like alcohol is banned in many towns, villages. Just because it’s legalized doesn’t mean it has to be sold. C’mon.

#6. Posted by Non Smoker on June 06, 2018

So if its legal, what right do the RCMP have to search a vehicle. What are they going to do when they find a gram?
If I dont smoke or purchase it, can i refuse the RCMP to search my vehicle.

#7. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 06, 2018

The governments here in Iqaluit (specifically the yellow building beside the GOC building) can’t/won’t/don’t stop their staff from smoking in front of the doors of the workplace now.  What is going to happen when they start smoking weed for any purpose. There is no enforcement now!
In fact when one draws it to their attention, the staff stand there and snicker.

#8. Posted by up here on June 06, 2018 is one of the many that sell saliva tch testers.  if there is, and there will be, an issue with municipal workers or law inforcement getting high on the job this is a test that only shows consumption within a few hours.  not a long term test like urine tests.  All communities should have and use these.  Especially heavy truck drivers

#9. Posted by iRoll on June 06, 2018

Some of these comments (most actually) are just bonkers.

Paul Murphy asks what will happens when people start smoking weed outside their building at work?! lol…  Paul, pretend some one asked that question about vodka or beer and *boom* ... you have your answer.

Oh the humanity! Oh the hysteria!

Too funny

#10. Posted by The Old Trapper on June 06, 2018

To the posters opposed to cannabis legalization, I eagerly await you posting your solutions.

Do we keep it illegal, give people criminal records that follow them their entire lives?

Fine them, when they have no money to pay the fine.

Or just throw them in jail and forget about them?

Cannabis has been in the north since at least the mid 1970’s, none of the above has really worked, let’s get it out in the open and deal with it in a realistic manner.

#11. Posted by Suqaima on June 06, 2018

I just hate to hear people trying to make God the reason for something that’s negative. God made and created but it’s the human who invents and makes something to harm and to hurt humanity. God created steel but he didn’t say make it in a knife and murder or make it into a knife and murder another person. Yes and weed grows like any other plant, but so many are addicted and families are in turmoil because the money is being spent on this addiction. Its fun for some who are able to handle it but there’s is too many who are addicted. Too many are getting beaten up because they don’t have enough money to buy weed.
For me I’m also a mother and I agree with Cathy Towtongie for us mother’s are worried about our youth. We have too many who no longer think about their future and who just sit all day in their bedrooms getting high. Ev en if we mother’s try to say thesis bad for the Territory, this issue is gone and the ship has sailed, it will get passed. We need to say what’s on our minds.

#12. Posted by Really ? on June 06, 2018

So no weed for Arviat or other dry communities. .?? I think that is what it means?

If we buy it online,hope there is good insurance, those postal employees and cargo personnel can pick up regulars getting their mail…or most of it?!

#13. Posted by Puff the Magic Dragon on June 06, 2018

Nunavut’s Cannabis Act, also known as the Nunavut Drug Dealers’ Business Protection Act, will pass. 

Everything will continue, pretty much as it is now.

The main difference will be that the politicians, the senior bureaucrats, and the Prime Minister’s mother will be safe from accidentally being caught.

#14. Posted by on June 07, 2018

Government can pass any legislation it wants but if those rules violate a legally protected right the legislation CAN NOT BE ENFORCED. Police given the ability to search without consent or a warrant is a direct violation of your right to privacy. Any lawyer worth a dime would rip this apart like a wet paper bag

#15. Posted by lolz on June 07, 2018

OK cry babies tell me this, when is the last time you saw a RCMP pull someone over?

hahaha it doesn’t happen!

#16. Posted by iToke on June 07, 2018

#12 I am sure that I read somewhere in these articles that the hypocritical, hysterical and illiberal ‘dry communities’ will not be able to ban weed.

Though, I am sure they will raise a stink about it. Who knows how it will play out in the end.

#17. Posted by You ML on June 07, 2018

#6, Refusing does nothing. Yes you can be the most upright citizen and still be subject to a no-warrant-needed search. Out with friends and their car gets pulled over.  Or in taxi.

All it takes…”think” they got weed on them. Or “think” smell weed in the car.  Or “think” the way the ATV, snowmachine is driving there is weed. “Think”, with no proof or no more need going to a judge.

Who will get peeved, agitated for being searched for something they don’t have?  What if had a few drinks?  Say you don’t do that stuff, but still given warrant-less search in public for all to see.

Leading to profiling, who’ll be targeted for no-warrant searches this day, week, month? 

How many more charges will come about, on being treated as a no rights nothing?  With no weed.

The one word, “Think”.  How many lives will it damage, mess up? 

Contact you MLA.  Nunavut as a police state – NO!

#18. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 07, 2018

# 9 I don’t normally respond to people who hide behind anonymous names on facebook and laugh at others, but in your case I will make an exception.  We aren’t talking alcohol here, we are talking smoking of tobacco (currently) and in future maryjane.  Have you ever ventured outside northmart, ventures or the yellow office building next to the GOC bldg?  How many people were smoking?  Who are enforcing the no smoking law now? Certainly not the G of C managers who themselves stood outside the doors yesterday and laughed at me when I brought it to their attention.  So much for respect of the law and others.

#19. Posted by Cambaymiut on June 07, 2018

“We aren’t talking alcohol here, we are talking smoking of tobacco (currently) and in future maryjane.”

That’s the issue: people are getting confused because although the delivery mechanism is identical to cigarettes, the product should be treated like alcohol.

In other words, people smoking cannabis should be exactly equivalent to someone drinking booze. If someone is smoking a joint during a break at work, it should be considered by the employer the same way as if they’re having shots of booze, and if the employer has issues with allowing someone to drink while on the job, they should have an issue with someone toking up. It doesn’t matter if the person smoking the joint is doing the same physical thing as the people smoking tobacco.

So, for the vast majority of people, there shouldn’t be people smoking weed during work breaks, unless that workplace is also fine with people drinking during working hours.

#20. Posted by boris pasternak on June 07, 2018

I do not indulge in alcohol, cigs and this cannabis, but it seems it’s a trouble for younger generation of tomorrow. how? look how you guys are acting after downing 4 bottles of beer. shame. if it’s today as is, tomorrow looks bad. we are going to need at least fifty beds rehabs in each region and at least 400 capacity super max.

#21. Posted by EskimoChick on June 07, 2018

Illegal or legal, marijuana will always be in the communities. Stop acting like it’s something super new to you guys. Maybe it will help with harm reduction.

#22. Posted by boris pasternak on June 07, 2018

it’s nothing new but this sort of thing has caused hardship for many nunavummiut; in terms of sexual abuse, family violence etc etc. maybe it’s ok for those of you who has committed these atrocities #21, we have to act like ‘its a new problem on daily basis just to keep many who are the usual victims safe; women, children, the weak and the elderly. long standing problem is that many grand-children and children of pensioners just take the $$$ the elderly for what #21?

#23. Posted by The Old Trapper on June 07, 2018

#11 Suqaima - I believe that your comment was directed to me. Unfortunately there is no “tongue in cheek” font to use. Let me explain if I may. IIRC Ms. Towtongie has in the past brought “God” into a number of issues. Unsurprisingly it would appear that “God” supports whatever position Ms. Towtongie has taken, whether it be on alcohol, drugs, or gays.

As an atheist I really don’t think that “God” created cannabis, but I’m sure there are people that will argue that s/he did, both for good and bad.

In reality people have the choice to use it, or not. It is about time that people start taking responsibility for their actions. This includes parents teaching their kids to be responsible.

#24. Posted by Pathetic on June 08, 2018

Nunatsiaq News is so afraid to print a comment critical of religion. Hey Nutsack, check your bias…

#25. Posted by Resident on June 10, 2018

#14 government doing a great thing. Police will be able to search vehicles and people at any given time if suspected of having a pound of weed. Lol good for you drug dealers.

#26. Posted by Concerned Nunavutmuit on June 19, 2018

Cathy can smoke on a big reefer along with the others. Federally under Bill C-45 people can cultivate up to 4 plants each. Cathy has a hard time listening to her constituents. She feels she only answers to a few evangelical Christian Trump like supporters. Cant she digest that alcohol was a bigger issue for Nunavutmuit. It has even affected her own family considerably.

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