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Nunavut bill proposes limits on sale and use of cannabis

Bill 7, the Cannabis Act, will put sales into the hands of a new Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission

By JANE GEORGE

Bill 7, now under consideration in the Nunavut legislature, sets out the framework for cannabis regulation in Nunavut. (FILE PHOTO)


Bill 7, now under consideration in the Nunavut legislature, sets out the framework for cannabis regulation in Nunavut. (FILE PHOTO)

Expect to hear more about Bill 7, the Cannabis Act, during the spring sitting of Nunavut’s legislative assembly now underway in Iqaluit.

The bill, which provides for the regulation of cannabis in Nunavut, follows the proposed legalization of non-medical cannabis, sometimes known as uyaraq (stone) in Inuktitut, that’s now being contemplated by Parliament to control the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada.

Bill 7, which you can now find on the assembly’s website, would introduce regulations and prohibitions beyond the federal government’s Bill C-45 on cannabis legislation.

Perhaps most notably, the bill, heading into the legislature’s committee of the whole for review, says you won’t be able to grow your own pot in Nunavut.

Ottawa’s Bill C-45 would allow residents to grow up to four cannabis plants per home. But Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson, among others, has called for a ban of grow-ops in Nunavut homes, particularly public housing, due to fire and mould risks.

Nunavut’s cannabis bill also calls for a new Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission to sell cannabis, with the profits for cannabis sales to be split, on a 75-25 basis, with the federal government. At first, cannabis would only be sold online and delivered by mail.

A network of licensed establishments, like stores and lounges, could eventually sell cannabis in Nunavut, but the government has said no physical location is planned to open in 2018.

Nunavut’s bill would require community consultations to take place before opening a cannabis store or lounge.

The bill also sets up an inspection, search and seizure regime for cannabis.

You will only be able to import cannabis into Nunavut if it’s part of your personal belongings when travelling to Nunavut, and up to the amount of cannabis that Canadians will be lawfully allowed to possess in a public place, which is about 30 grams.

Bill 7 also weighs in on consent.

This means you won’t be able to give anyone cannabis without their knowledge or consent or sell or give cannabis to another person “who does not know and could not reasonably know it is cannabis or apply cannabis onto or into any part of another person’s body without consent.”

You won’t be able to provide cannabis to an intoxicated person.

As well, you won’t be able to provide cannabis or a cannabis accessory, such as “rolling papers or wraps, holders, pipes, water pipes, bongs and vaporizers,” to a minor.

If you want to smoke cannabis, you will have to stay away from hospitals or other health facilities, schools, stores, playgrounds, day care centres, arenas, community halls, public events, and away from the entrances and exits of buildings.

You may not even be able to smoke weed at home if it “results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, smoke or vapour entering and being detectable by smell or sight” in someone else’s home.

Bill 7 also amends the Condominium Act and the Residential Tenancies Act with respect to smoking, the Motor Vehicles Act to provide for the suspension of driver’s licences in cases of drug impaired driving, and the Tobacco Control Act to provide for increased restrictions on public smoking.

The groundwork for the legislation was laid down in Bill 3, the Cannabis Statutes Amendment Act.

As a result of this bill, the smoking of cannabis will be banned from the same public places where smoking tobacco is currently forbidden, and any cannabis transported in a motor vehicle must be either out of reach or in a sealed container.

The bill also gives police officers the power to conduct searches, without warrants, of any motor vehicles they have good reason to believe hold cannabis, and similar reasonable grounds to suspect that evidence would be destroyed if they waited for a warrant.

Police may similarly search without a warrant any person inside such a vehicle.

The bill amends other existing laws: The Cities, Towns and Villages Act; the Motor Vehicles Act; the Liquor Act; the Marriage Act; the Pharmacy Act and the Tobacco Control Act. The bill will come into effect the same day as the federal Cannabis Act.

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